Impact of Political Blogs

Chinese officials conducting online chats to answer questions about the government

Chinese officials conducting online chats to answer questions about the government

Chinese government officials recognize the value of allowing political debates to take place in the Internet. Despite the limitations of the government in the usage of the Internet, it has been a place wherein different conception of values such as industrialization, urbanization and liberalization developed. The Party knows the importance of allowing public opinion to continuously be published in various websites. Thus, the Party has been working on trying to also include forums on the websites of the provincial, municipal and central government.

Chinese officials has been widely criticize for its censorship

Chinese officials has been widely criticize for its censorship

In the past, Chinese officials created a program wherein Internet users were given the opportunity to speak directly to the head of the state at the time, Hu Jintao. Users sent our inquiries in advanced and then the government chose most of the topics being talked about by the writers. Then such topics were discussed in a real-time online chat room. It has attracted so many viewers that it crashed the web site. Hu Jintao talked about how it was important to address various comments and suggestions regarding Party business. Such comments allow officials to formulate government policies. This move was claimed to be a strategic move of the Party to maintain its influence over the Internet community. It was a way of appeasing the users to decrease the animosity against the government and make them feel how their views are important to the officials.

Despite claims of the Internet not influencing the decision making of the central government, there has been one significant event that had an impact in the political decisions. During the announcement of the pre-installed filter software in summer 2009, Chinese bloggers immediately counter against such policy. The software, which was called the Green Dam Youth, was said to protect children and young people from international criticism. Due to the magnitude of the protest, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Technology abandoned such plans. This shows the importance of online sites in voicing out your views in various policies.

Images by Pang Xinglei and Andy Wong