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More than 70 percent of people believe that new media can be more powerful tools for democratic supervision than traditional media, according to a new survey.
The Media and Public Opinion Research Center, of Fudan University in Shanghai, asked people how they kept up with events at the annual National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which ended on Wednesday.
The center conducted random telephone interviews with 313 residents of Shanghai's 17 districts and counties, all with varied educational levels.
This is the sixth year the center has conducted the survey.
Ninety-three percent of respondents said they knew about the two sessions and more than one-half said they listened to and watched Premier Wen Jiabao's news conference on the last day.
"Though the television was still the medium of choice for residents to stay in touch with goings-on during the two sessions, new media are playing an increasingly important role," Li Shuanglong, a researcher from the center, told China Daily.
According to the report, 63 percent kept informed during the two sessions via the television. Next was the Internet, which was chosen by 19.6 percent of residents. About 10.5 percent relied on newspapers.
More than 30 percent of the Internet users said they followed the two sessions through micro blogs.
The survey noted that the effect of Internet media on the country's political life should be given much attention as about 71 percent of residents agreed that "Internet media can play a more critical role than traditional media in democratic supervision."
A man surnamed Zhou, who works at a State-owned company, said: "On my way to work during those days, I kept reading the latest information from the two meetings on micro blogs with my mobile phone. It's very convenient and quick. Also, I can express my opinion on it.
"Many officials have already started their own micro blogs. This will bring officials and citizens close, and increase communication between government and the public," he said.
"Unlike traditional media, new media work as a mutual communication channel. It allows people to express their opinion and it creates strong interaction between government and the public," said Xie Yungeng, an expert in public opinion and new media from Shanghai Jiaotong University.
Of the thousands of proposals made by NPC deputies and CPPCC members during this year's two sessions, livelihood issues were the top concern among respondents, with 51 percent saying these were the most important.
Income distribution came second, with 19 percent selecting it as a top issue.
Economic development and political system reform tied for third, with 6.3 percent apiece.
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