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Publicity official calls for better use of China's social media

(Xinhua)

08:47, September 10, 2012

SHENZHEN, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- A senior Chinese publicity official has urged to use the country's burgeoning social media as a means to amplify "positive voices" and address social concerns.

In a recent meeting of the State Internet Information Office, Wang Chen, the office head, called on officials to make social media a focus of online publicity, guidance and management, and make it play a "greater and more positive role" in serving the country's overall work.

Wang, who is also the deputy head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said the fast development of social media has created opportunities for the government to engage with the public.

However, the booming service has, at the same time, generated new challenges for the guidance of public opinions and the regulation of information dissemination order on the Internet, he said.

Participants at the meeting agreed to promote the healthy development of social media by advocating positive socialist values through the Internet while checking the spread of online rumors, frauds and vulgarity.

China now has more than 500 million Internet users and over 300 million of them use social media such as microblogs.

Experts believe the new information technology has given Chinese people more freedom of expression. Twitter-like services such as Sina Weibo is flooded with millions of microblogs every day, serving both as an invisible watchdog and a stress reliever.

With social media becoming popular, government organs have resorted to such services as a platform to update authoritative information and respond to inquiries. According to the meeting, official administrations at various levels in China have registered nearly 80,000 microblog accounts.

Participants of the meeting in China's southern city of Shenzhen have viewed the exchanges between government organs and the public via social media as a means to protect people's right to know, participate, express and supervise.

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