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Online messages, a new means of communication between cadres and masses
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13:03, June 15, 2009

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In July 2008, a new edition of "Local Leader Message Board" hosted by People's Daily Online was launched, available to over 1000 "top leaders" in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region.

By May 22, over 60,000 messages had been left on the Message Board, and 21 secretaries of the provincial CPC committee and provincial governors as well as 46 prefecture-level leaders had published their responses to netizens' messages. Issues brought up by more than 2000 netizens had been handled and solved.

Internet not only helps netizens voice their opinions but also helps leaders to listen

This March, netizen Ma Fu left a message on the Message Board, which reads "Many thanks for leaders' attention. I have now obtained my ID card. I hope government will continue its good work for the people's benefit. I would like People's Daily Online to make sure that this message be posted online to express my thanks to the government."

As it turned out, this netizen from Guizhou Province worked in Shenzhen and had not been able to obtain an ID card for over two years due to a problem related to the household registration at his place of residence. After he left a message on People's Daily Online, his problem was solved 15 days later. Afterwards, a leader of Guizhou Province told reporters at an interview that he got used to reading messages posted on the Message Board after getting up each morning. He further noted that he had already handled 600 to 700 messages like those left by netizen Ma, adding that "I have handled all that can be handled in my capacity."

Opening the Message Board of People's Daily Online at 9:00 am on May 20, it is noted that messages to leaders of Henan province numbered as many as 2203, ranking first among provinces, while messages to leaders of Shanxi and Hunan ranked second and third, numbering 1738 and 1403 respectively.

"The Internet helps government to learn public opinion." In a number of interviews, officials from the provincial CPC committee of Shanxi Province spoke of their thoughts about netizens' messages and expressed thanks to the Message Board of People's Daily Online for its contributions to channel public opinion.

"The Message Board has already become a platform on which leaders and netizens can communicate with each other," said Li Xinyu, director of the coordination department for local governments at People's Daily Online, adding, "The Internet has already become netizens' microphone to voice their opinions, and also helps leaders to listen."

Defuse potential conflicts via online exchanges

"Some local leaders telephoned us saying that our Message Board had prevented many potential petitions," said Yang Le, an editor of the Message Board.

Opening the Message Board, it is noted that issues brought up by many netizens have been solved here. In October 2008, leaders of Shanxi Province published a letter of response to netizens on the website of People's Daily Online. Up to now, leaders of this province have already published 16 responses to netizens' messages, and handled nearly 600 cases in total.

Similarly, since their first response to the messages in 2008, leaders of the municipal CPC committee of Tianjin have so far published 13 responses and handled over 100 cases. Leaders of the provincial CPC committee of Hainan Province sorted out over 510 messages and formed 48 suggestions in five major categories. Leaders of Fujian and Gansu Provinces have published 7 and 5 responses respectively.

In November 2008, after the Gansu "Longnan Incident," when sorting out the messages left on the Message Board, People's Daily Online discovered that since September 2008, quite a few netizens had already expressed dissatisfaction with the relocation issue in Longnan County, with messages becoming more and more heated. Officials with the Provincial General Office of Gansu Province said that if they had known these public opinions and made timely responses, the issue could be solved better. From then on, Gansu Province has paid much more attention to the Message Board and asked for a "summary of messages" from People's Daily Online.

By People's Daily Online

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