Report: Internet a tool to supervise gov't

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, December 22, 2009
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The Internet is fast becoming the eyes, ears and voice of the Chinese public.

According to a report analyzing social trends, the Internet has become an important tool for covering the news and a way for the public to keep tabs on the government.

The report, released yesterday, states that approximately 30 percent of examinations into social and political issues this year has been spurred by the Internet.

With the advent of mobile phones with various capabilities, namely connecting to the Internet, netizens can upload an assortment of video and pictures that speak louder than ever, especially with the emergence of the micro-blog, said the "Society of China Analysis and Forecast 2010," released by the Social Sciences Academic Press in Beijing.

"In Western societies, micro-blog users write more about daily life, but Chinese bloggers show their strong concerns on current political and social issues," said blogger Michael Anti, to China Daily in a telephone interview yesterday.

"Traditional mainstream media in China were supposed to ignore some topics, which has pushed netizens to voice their concerns through the Internet," he said.

But traditional mainstream media, including State-owned newspapers and TV stations, have responded positively in 2009 in following up on news leaked through blogs, according to the report.

Zhu Huaxin, an analyst from the public opinion supervision department under, said in the report that "the authorities are putting the network complaints as a new channel for Party and government disciplines and judicial supervision".

"On one hand, supervision of government on the network has been strengthened, and on the other hand, government response to public opinion on the Internet is faster than ever," he said.

From local governments to the central government, a system to monitor, give feedback and adopt ideas through the Internet has been established, said the report.

The Analysis on Internet Public Opinion in China 2009 also noted some cases about people's right of privacy in cyberspace.

For example, the indecent photos and words in a blog falsified by the vengeful ex-lover of Yan Deli, a woman from Hebei province, ranks in the report among the 20 hottest topics in 2009. The blog claimed the woman was an HIV-positive prostitute.

Lu Benfu, an Internet economist of the Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with China Central Television that there are some "grey industry chains" operated by some Internet public relation companies in China.

Generally speaking, a hot topic can attract concerns for about three days, and some companies pay people to participate in the Internet discussions to expand the influence of certain issues, he said.

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