China shows new style of governance in handling student death

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 5, 2016
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The nationwide uproar following the death of a young university student is uncommon in recent years as angry posts and messages keep pouring into China's social media.

Outraged as they should be, Chinese netizens may find some reassurance. The government's swift actions to address public anger are a promising and encouraging sign that China strives to be a modern country that puts the interests of its people at core.

Wei Zexi, a computer science major at Xidian University in northwest China, fell victim to Baidu's "pay to play" regime as the search engine giant sells highlighted ad positions, including false medical advertisements that concern matters of life and death, for keyword searches.

 [By Luo Jie/China Daily]

The 21-year old young man, who died last month of a rare form of cancer, had searched Baidu for the best place for treatment, finding a department under the Second Hospital of Beijing Armed Police Corps which offered an experimental treatment that ultimately failed.

The incident has triggered public outrage, and also prompted the government to act quickly against both Baidu and the hospital.

The Cyberspace Administration of China on Monday said it had dispatched a team of investigators to Baidu to deal with the case.

On Tuesday, the National Health and Family Planning Commission announced that it would launch a joint investigation against the hospital with the health bureaus under both the Logistic Support Department of the Central Military Commission and the Logistic Support Department of the Armed Police Force.

Also on Tuesday, the government launched a campaign to regulate online medical advertisements and subject them to approval by the health authority.

The government's immediate actions reflect the growing importance China has attached to public concerns channelled by the Internet, as well as its resolve to improve its governance capability both online and offline.

China gained access to international web service in 1994. Now, the number of its netizens has soared to 668 million. The Internet, with social media on a fast rise, has become a vital space for public debate in China.

While pledging to listen carefully to online opinions, the government has taken immediate actions and adopted effective measures to fight crimes and correct malpractices.

Tragic and heartbreaking as it is, the Wei Zexi case offers the latest proof that China has ushered in a new style of governance featuring more swiftness and transparency in responses to public issues.

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