Wen outlines major govt tasks in annual online chat (2)

08:52, February 28, 2011      

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This is not the first time a Chinese leader has sought to gather public opinion through new media.

Wen also chatted with Web users in 2009 and 2010. President Hu Jintao talked to Web users via the People's Daily website in 2008.

A total of 122 National People's Congress (NPC) deputies and 167 Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) members had opened their microblogs to discuss their proposals by the weekend, according to media counts.

The increasingly frequent adoption of new media in communication with the public has grown with the boom in new media usage in China.

The number of Internet users rose to 457 million at the end of 2010, which means one-third of China's population was using the Internet, according to a report released by the China Internet Network Information Center in January.

New Internet applications have become increasingly popular in China.

The number of microblog users mushroomed to 53.11 million, about 13.8 percent of China's total Internet user population at the end of last year, Xinhua reported.

Liu Xiaoying of the Communications University of China told the Global Times that online communication has become a channel for leaders to solicit public opinion.

"This will prompt government openness and respect for people's opinions," he said, adding that online public opinions are also very important in helping the government become more transparent in policymaking and governance.

Xia Xueluan, a professor of sociology at Peking University, told the Global Times, "It should become a regular event, and eventually a mechanism, for high officials to hear about online public opinions, rather than a once-a-year communication."

"The promises made during the online chat should be fulfilled. For example, they can be compiled as proposals submitted to the top legislature. Only by doing so can the government win the hearts of the people," Xia said.

Li Qian contributed to this story
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