Op-Ed Contributors

Micro blogs are the voice of the people

Updated: 2011-08-24 08:28

By Ye Xiaowen (China Daily)

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As the sole ruling party in China, the Communist Party of China (CPC) must listen attentively to the people's complaints. So micro blogs deserve attention from the authorities.

Long and stable rule is based on constructive interaction between governors and citizens. The longer the rule is, the more carefully the governors should listen to people's concerns. Its close ties with the masses have been the biggest political advantage of the CPC. Breaking away from the masses is the biggest danger for CPC. The Party should always respond to people's demands. The Party should always consider people's concerns. And the Party should always be able to solve people's problems. The Party should be open, especially in the micro blog sphere, to people's voices.

The Party cannot afford to ignore so many people's voices. Reform and opening-up are human-oriented, stimulating active social activities and thought liberation. When too many people speak at the same time, the whole house is filled with a riot of sounds. People's thinking is more independent, selective, volatile and diversified. Chinese people have a stronger sense of democracy, political participation and rule by law. They expect a happy life.

Fast development disturbs many balances. With improvements in their quality of life, people are more concerned with fairness and justice. When some people get rich, society should focus more on the poor. The Party should heed voices from all corners of the society. People's longings and expectations for a happy life should be heard. The complaints of disadvantaged groups in fierce social and economic competition should be heard. Suggestions on how to make and cut the cake should be heard.

Heeding people's demands, the Party should also refer to the people in fields of policymaking and governance principles. Only when the people's rights to speak are really protected, can the national wealth distribution be adjusted to maintain a balance of interests and long term social stability.

The micro blog industry has developed so fast that its widespread influence and huge potential to shape the social landscape of China cannot be ignored by decision-makers. The micro blog user population is more than 200 million now. Micro blogs are highly interactive, mobile, convenient, eye-catching and especially influential and eloquent when combined with a cell phone.

After micro blogs became available, the silent majority finally got the chance to air its opinions. Any news can be hot news when it is widely circulated via micro blogs. Therefore, the new "mass line" policy should be implemented along with skilled use of micro blogs. Government affairs, the sessions of the People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the public security department, supervision and the other important services and information are all available and disclosed on micro blogs now.

The general public also rely on micro blogs to pressure the government to defend their rights, to crack down on the abduction of women and children and to refute rumors. This is a time when you almost cannot live without a micro blog. More and more public events ferment and spread via this platform. Although its name starts with micro, its influence is certainly not micro. When similar opinions of hundreds of millions of people flock together, a message comprising 140 words can shake the foundation of governance.

In the Wenzhou train accident in Zhejiang province, the first message introducing the tragedy was a passenger's micro blog. Responding to people's voices, Premier Wen Jiabao indicated that the authorities must listen to people's doubts and present a responsible reply to the people. A series of concrete actions in rescue and investigation were taken afterwards and the speeds of the nation's express railways were lowered to guarantee people's safety.

People's voices are a direct reflection of their circumstances, which means their voices may not be as standard and so clear and pleasant to hear as official survey results. The voices sometimes are sharp, coarse and are aired in an uncomfortable way for the listeners.

Micro blog information is also mixed with fabricated stories, rumors and even intentional inflammatory information. Many valuable people's voices are submerged in the massive information flow.

People's voices are the orders for the Party. The people's problems are the Party's problems. The history of the CPC indicates the Party's power is in the hands of the people. Allowing the people to tell the truth and criticize the Party is a reflection of the Party's confidence and power.

In a word, paying close attention to people's micro blog is a direct reflection of the Party advancing with times and adhering to the principle of staying with the people.

The author is the first-deputy president of the Central Institute of Socialism. The article was first published in People's Daily Overseas Edition.

(China Daily 08/24/2011 page8)


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