Net effective check on govt officials, survey finds

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, May 12, 2010
Adjust font size:

Most people believe the Internet is an effective check on government officials' behavior, a survey has showed.

About 70 percent of the 6,243 people in the poll, which included 5,943 online users and 300 officials, said they believe government officials fear online public opinion and supervision.

Ninety percent of the respondents also consider such supervision to be good for society, the poll conducted by the People's Tribune, a biweekly magazine under the official People's Daily, reported over the weekend.

Only 22 percent of those polled said officials are not afraid of online public opinion, with the remaining 8 percent undecided on the issue, the survey showed.

"The survey shows how Internet users, including some officials, value online supervision," said Liu Xutao, deputy director of the center of testing and evaluation with the Chinese Academy of Governance. Liu also co-wrote a report on the survey for the magazine.

"On the other hand, it reflects how some other media organizations have failed to play the role of watchdog," he said.

China has the world's largest Internet community. The number of Chinese online users rose to 404 million at the end of March, figures from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed. Chinese netizens have also seen how corrupt officials have fallen in recent years once their wrongdoing was exposed online.

In late 2008, Zhou Jiugeng, a former official in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, was accused of corruption after photos of him wearing a luxury watch and smoking expensive cigarettes was posted online. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison for taking bribes of more than 1 million yuan ($146,000) in October 2009.

In March this year, Han Feng, an official in charge of tobacco management in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, was arrested for taking bribes in the wake of the online revelation of his extramarital affairs and corrupt lifestyle.

These high-profile cases led 60 percent of those polled to believe that officials worry about the negative effect of online supervision on their careers, survey results showed. Of the 300 officials polled by the magazine, 47 percent of them said county-level officials fear online supervision the most. The magazine did not specify the ranks of the officials polled.

Publicity officials and county-level Party secretaries are the two groups most afraid of online supervision, the poll showed.

An unidentified publicity official from Jiangsu province told the magazine he was heavily pressured by negative information on the Internet regarding his county. Publicity officials across China are usually tasked with maintaining a good image for local governments. Many officials also worry that their public statements will be quoted out of context and attract negative online responses.

Still, the majority of those polled consider it a good sign that officials are afraid of online supervision and said it shows progress in society.

"Officials should not only fear the Internet," Liu said.

"They should also learn how to deal with online media and interact with Internet users normally."

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comments

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from