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Social media to be used to disseminate quake information

(Xinhua)

16:52, May 24, 2012

BEIJING, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities on Thursday suggested using websites and other forms of social media to enhance the public's awareness of earthquake prevention and disaster reduction.

The popularity of social networking sites, especially microblogging sites, should be utilized to educate the public about disaster mitigation, according to Chen Jianmin, director of the China Earthquake Administration.

China has nearly 500 million Internet users. Sina Weibo, the country's most popular microblogging site, had 324 million registered users as of May 16.

The administration should accommodate new trends in social and economic development and publicize natural disaster-related information in ways that the public can easily understand and accept, Chen said.

Using social media to share information regarding natural disasters will expedite the publicization process, Chen said.

Drills should be conducted nationwide to improve the public's ability to handle earthquakes and other natural disasters, the administration said.

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