Xinjiang Party chief opens microblog to better hear public opinions

08:28, March 04, 2011      

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Zhang Chunxian, Communist Party chief of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has launched a personal microblog so he can interact more with the public.

He is believed to be the highest-ranking official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to set up a real-name account on the microblogging services that have become popular through out the country.

Zhang's microblog opened late Wednesday on, a popular Internet portal in China.

"I launched my personal microblog at the invitation of website operators. The website also has a special homepage on Xinjiang," Zhang told reporters Thursday.

"I hope, through my microblog, that suggestions and proposals will be given to me on improving Xinjiang's development and Xinjiang people's livelihoods," said Zhang, who is in Beijing to attend the annual parliamentary session

In his first, and only microblog message as yet, posted at 8:11 p.m. Wednesday, Zhang described his feelings when he received a letter from a resident of a minority ethnic group in Xinjiang.

"Recently, a woman of a minority ethnic group wrote to me, saying 'over the past year, we local residents have gradually felt the warmth of unity and love. We can hum songs when we get off work, buy vegetable, do cooking...because lots of happy things are taking place around us'," Zhang wrote in the microblog.

The woman apparently referred to the changes of life in the far west ethnic region in the wake of the July 5 riot in Xinjiang's regional capital Urumqi in 2009, which left 197 people dead and more than 1,700 injured.

"I'm touched and delighted to read these simple words," Zhang wrote.

Zhang, 58, was appointed Xinjiang Party chief in April last year, about nine months after the deadly riot rocked the region.

Almost 12,000 microbloggers had become his fans by late Thursday, and about 2,200 posted comments. The microblog can be found on

"I was born in Xinjiang and grow up in Xinjiang. I support you," a microblog user "Qin Dejuan" said in the comment.

Many other users put forward different suggestions on reining in housing prices and vegetable prices and improving social welfare.

Around 450 million people in China are Internet users. The Internet has become an important channel for China's legislators, as well as government officials, to gauge public opinion.

Two popular microblog wesbites, and, have recently announced they each have more than 100 million microblog users.

Zhang is in Beijing to attend the annual session of the country's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), which is to convene Saturday.

As the annual sessions of NPC and the country's top political advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, open this week, hundreds of NPC deputies and CPPCC members have begun using microblogs to interact with the public.

Earlier in January, Cai Qi, a vice provincial-level CPC official in east China's Zhejiang Province, opened his personal microblog on Before Zhang's opening of microblog, Cai had been considered the highest-ranking CPC official to do so.

"I feel both surprised and delighted to see (Party) Secretary Zhang open his own microblog," Cai wrote in his own microblog. He is head of the Organization Department of the CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee.

"I'm surprised because a provincial-level Party chief has a microblog. I'm delighted because high-level leadership has come to know the power of microblog," said Cai, also an NPC deputy.

Zhang told reporters Thursday that he would interact with the public frequently through his microblog.

"Microblog is a very good platform and good channel for communications," he said.

He meanwhile acknowledged that he would be restricted in how much time he spent micro-blogging because of his heavy workload.

"However, no matter whether I write it or not, I will read the pubic feedback I get through the blog regularly and often," he added.

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