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Huge increase in govt micro blogs

By Yan Jie  (China Daily)

09:17, September 05, 2011


Cartoon by Wang Xiaoying (http://cartoon.chinadaily.com.cn/)


BEIJING - Chinese officials have greatly increased their use of micro blogs to become more familiar with netizens' opinions, according to a survey by people.com.cn, an online news portal run by the People's Daily.

By August 1, more than 10,000 government departments and officials across China had opened micro-blog accounts, with 266 of them being used by senior officials ranked at deputy-city level or above, according to the survey.

The survey was based on the micro-blog services provided by Shenzhen-based Tencent, one of the leading counterparts of Twitter in China.

The number of officials using micro blogs more than quadrupled the last figure in a report on government micro-bloggers in China, which was published by Fudan University in April.

That report said that by March 20 there were 2,400 micro-blog accounts run by authorities and officials.

The steep increase in the use of micro blogs by the government and officials was seen as their response to the rapid growth of micro-blogging in China.

"The impact caused by the rise of micro-blogging on governance in China is unprecedented," said Wang Yukai, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance.

In addition, the number of micro-bloggers had soared to 195 million by the end of June this year, said the China Internet Network Information Center in a report on the development of the Internet in China.

Authorities and officials should adopt a modest approach to writing micro blogs, said Cai Qi, head of the organization department of the Communist Party of China in East China's Zhejiang province. Cai is also a star micro-blogger with more than 5.3 million followers.

They should correct themselves during interactions with netizens to eliminate misunderstandings, Cai said.

However, micro-blogging by the government and officials has a long way to go to reach its potential, according to some experts.

Some micro-blog accounts run by government departments have apparently not been used since they were launched, while others are full of bureaucratic jargon. Reports have said that some accounts have even added fake followers to falsify their popularity.

People needed more than just a friendly attitude from officials, said Fan Bonai, a professor at the Zhejiang University.

It was more important for these micro-bloggers to solve problems related to people's lives effectively and quickly, said Fan.

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