A man in Jiangsu Province protested against plans to demolish his home by setting it on fire.
The case was not reported by the media, but the news spread among the public and triggered a heated social debate.
When similar issues occurred later, the local government gave first-hand material to media and encouraged reporting and the public reactions were much calmer.
Ye Hao, director of the publicity department of the Nanjing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has penned a book on government and media relations in an information society, using the Jiangsu case to illustrate the media's role in releasing public emotions and helping government transparency.
The book, "Government Journalism", is mainly about what the government officials should do to enhance transparency and ensure the media and the public's right to know.
Ye describes in his book how the government and media have a "love-hate" relationship.
"We love media because we need it and hate it because it's hard to control," Ye said.
Ye said in the past some Chinese officials were used to controlling the media and they had no idea of how to get along with the media.
"The government shoulders the responsibility for ensuring easy public access to information. It's important during the process of building a harmonious society," Ye said.
Professor Chen Changfeng, of the School of Journalism and Communication in Peking University, said the book was another step by the Chinese government towards building a transparent, clean and efficient government,in the push to boost economic prosperity and social order.
"The demand for administrative information, including major policies,rules and plans for development, has been running high among both the business community and the general public. It's good for the government officials to be aware of that," Chen said.
She said the book was a practical reference for Chinese officials as it detailed skills for dealing with emergencies and building public perceptions.
"The book is convincing, as the author, himself a government official, includes abundant cases in the book both in and out of China," Chen said.
The book is published as the government claims that it is becoming more open and transparent.
More than 70 departments under the State Council, or the central government, had appointed a spokesman by the end of 2005. About 27 of China's provinces had established a government spokesperson system.
The number of press conferences chaired by these spokespeople rose to 1,088 last year, an increase of 17 percent from the figure in 2004, according to the Information Office of the State Council.
China will enact a regulation on the releasing of government information by the end of this year in a bid to promote government transparency.