The ongoing sessions of the 10th National People's Congress
(NPC) and the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's
Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) have brought to the fore
a growing force that is changing the face of China's political
ecology: "Online Politics".
The Chinese characters, "Wangshang Lianghui", which mean "online
NPC and CPPCC sessions", are currently the most
popular on Chinese search engines.
A search for sample questions for Premier Wen Jiabao threw up several results, including
this one: "Premier Wen, I was brought up in the countryside. I
don't think the poverty problems in rural areas can be solved with
the abolition of agricultural tax and provision of subsidies."
CCTV-4, a China Central Television channel, ran a program
called, "I Have a Question for the Premier". In the run-up to the
opening of the two sessions on March 3, more than 120,000 Chinese
netizens had submitted their questions to the program via the
Chinese nationals overseas have also been actively involved,
posting their questions on the websites of Chinese publications
such as People's Daily.
After going through all 120,000 questions, the program's
production team divided them into three groups. One lot of
questions was aired on TV, another was forwarded directly to the
relevant government departments for discussion during the ongoing
sessions, while the third was posted back on the Internet for
Another Internet tool being utilized is the blog.
Zhang Aijing, a reporter with People's Daily who has
started a blog on the sessions, noted: "More NPC deputies and CPPCC
members have started blogs this year."
Ye Qing, whose blog was voted People's Daily Best
Social Responsibility Blog of 2006, is the vice director-general of
the Statistics Bureau of Hubei Province. He has updated his blog almost
daily since he started it on March 2, 2006. He said that
communicating with netizens through the blog is very efficient
because there are no time and space limitations. He also finds the
blog an extremely useful way of conducting research.
Zhang Xiaomei, a beauty industry entrepreneur and CPPCC member,
said that her blog has enabled her to communicate more effectively
with her fellow citizens. Prior to attending the session in
Beijing, she posted her draft resolution on her blog and received
more than 300 comments and opinions.
CCTV-4 anchor, Lu Jian, said that all CPPCC members and NPC
deputies should have blogs, adding that the government should
officially sanction blogging for this purpose.
A request for public opinion and comment posted by NPC Deputy
Hong Kezhu on www.people.com.cn on February 28 received about 5,000
hits in just three days.
Hong said: "I am considering netizens' opinions in a
comprehensive way. Some have been added to my proposals, while
others might be submitted for proposal at another time or require
Yang Jihong, who is in charge of preparing the session reports
for CCTV-4, said: "Everyone wants to participate in the
administration of state affairs. The question is whether we have
the channels or not."
"Whether at home or abroad, the Internet has provided the
Chinese people with a platform from which to air their views," said
Yu Guoming, vice director of the Journalism School at Renmin
University of China.
For Wang Xueping, an NPC deputy, voices never before heard are
given their due air-time on the Internet, which is very helpful to
a deputy's work.
"These previously neglected voices can cumulate into a force not
to be trifled with in society. We should adapt to any change in
political ecology caused by this force and employ new methods and
working patterns to deal with these changes," Yu Guoming added.
(International Herald Leader, edited and translated by
Zhou Jing and Li Shen for China.org.cn, March 9, 2007)