Forums for Political Debate

Chinese users  have a hard time looking for a site to share their political views

Chinese users have a hard time looking for a site to share their political views

People outside China usually has a misconception towards the inability of the Internet sites in China to provide a platform wherein people could engage in a debate. The creation of Internet forum Qiangguo luntan during 1999 was the symbolic start of a new digital era. The famous Internet forum was regulated by the state owned People’s Daily. The popularity of Internet forum became the grounds for some anonymous users to post their arguments on a particular political debate. Users now have an alternative on obtaining their information or arguments besides the official news agencies. Although the credibility of the site is sometimes questionable, users prefer such platform in engaging political discussion.

Riots in Xinjiang made the government decide to remove Fanfou

Riots in Xinjiang made the government decide to remove Fanfou

In August 2009, a “miniblog” with the same resemblance to Twitter was created. The site, sina.com.cn, has been known to be the third largest commercial web portal in China. Members of such mini blog could comment on various topics. As what everyone knows Chinese users could not gain access to Twitter since June 2009. Despite the creation of a similar site to Twitter, which is Fanfou, it was still banned by Beijing officials. It was been removed from the Internet because of the unrest happening in Xinjiang. Authorities claim that demonstrations have already been difficult to handle. Kaixin, which is the Chinese equivalent for Facebook, could also be a platform for Chinese users to engage in various debates however the content police is still monitoring it. Majority of the activities of subscribers of Kaixin are focused on entertainment and communication unlike in Facebook wherein some users uses such sites to forward their political views.

Alternatives for Chinese users who would want to engage in a political debate are the bulleting boards (BBS). It is in fact a good source of criticism. It will surprise observers due to sharp criticism towards the government and the constant exposure of corruption practices of the Chinese officials.

Images by World Media and AFP