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China's microblogs enhance public's supervision of government

(Xinhua)

17:06, August 14, 2011

BEIJING, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- A decade ago, the most favored medium for Chinese people to air their complaints was perhaps through the state-owned China Central Television network.

However, the Internet has superseded television as the most popular means for the airing of discontent, with microblogs leading the charge.

Microblogs came to prominence in China just two years ago, but have exploded in popularity. Sina Weibo, one of the country's most popular microblog providers, has allowed the country's citizens to supervise - and criticize - China's government in ways that were never thought possible before.

In comparison to microblogs, traditional media entities face technical and systematic restrictions in their efforts to observe and supervise the government. The Internet and its vast number of microbloggers are now able to make up for this deficiency, according to Zhan Jiang, a professor of journalism at the Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Microblogs make it easy for people to speak their thoughts in real-time, essentially making their public voices louder, according to Professor Zhan.

Sina Weibo was launched in August 2009. Since then, it has attracted more than 140 million registered users, with the number expected to exceed 200 million by the end of this year, according to the company.

Microblogging services enjoyed "explosive growth" in the first six months of this year, with the number of registered microblog users surging by 208.9 percent to reach 195 million, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

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