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When the General Secretary became a netizen
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14:50, June 24, 2008

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More than 200 million Chinese netizens, a majority of them young people, are in a festive mood in these days.

Such feeling comes from Hu Jintao, the general secretary of the CPC central committee, who communicated with netizens via the Qiangguo (Strong China) Forum of People's Daily Online, during a visit to People's Daily on June 20.

During the webcast, Mr. Hu told netizens he went online to "listen to people's voices extensively and pool the people's wisdom when we take action and make decisions." Mr. Hu added: "The Internet is a cause that belongs to the youth."

The Internet, Internet media and netizens have shown heroism in the recent earthquake relief. The post 80s and 90s generations were once regarded as a "pampered and spoiled" generation – a group that is familiar with the keyboard and mouse. It is this group that made the earthquake known to the nation's people within seven minutes. They called up volunteers to go to the quake-stricken areas; spread real time messages calling for aid on the Internet; and created numerous touching literary works. Their patriotism and devotion are so impressive that people say the Wenchuan earthquake "reaped" a new generation of Chinese.

The 20-year old Internet brings not only a revolution in lifestyle, but also a new governing philology to the Chinese people. More Chinese people are becoming familiar with world affairs and show their concern for country and people's lives on the Internet. One report says Chinese netizens are ranked number one in the world for their participation in politics.

The Internet has become an integral part of China's society; and a place where public opinions are collected.

Before Hu Jintao's visit to the Strong China Forum, many local leaders had already accessed the Internet. Hunan Party chief Zhang Chunxian sent New Year's greetings to netizens online; Guangdong Party chief Wang Yang made an appointment with netizens to hear their opinions; Jiangxi Province set up an office to collect advice from netizens; and Shanghai mayor Hanzheng answers questions regarding hot issues. Premier Wen Jiabao openly expressed recognition for public opinion on the Internet in last year's "two sessions."

The Internet's open, equal and interactive character enables it to play a better supervisory role in sectors like government information release, decision-making and transparent administration. Mr. Hu's remarks are a positive reinforcement to public opinions on internet, which shows the confidence and courage of the governing ideology.

Knowing the Strong China Forum is the site that Hu Jintao chooses, the number of users logging onto the forum surged by seven times--the enthusiasm for giving advice has escalated.

It is quite apparent that China's political civilization will progress as China's internet becomes rational and mature.

By People's Daily Online

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