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Officials interact with Web users

Updated: 2012-11-03 07:16
By Cao Yin (China Daily)

Senior Party officials stressed that they should be devoted to work, eliminate privileges and get along with residents on the micro-blogging stage, in online messages to the upcoming 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, scheduled to open on Thursday.

Currently, Party chiefs of three provinces and a municipality in the country have posted on Sina Weibo, China's largest Twitter-like service, offering their best wishes to the globally watched congress.

Yu Zhengsheng, secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the CPC, showed his understanding of power and responsibility in words to micro-bloggers on Thursday.

"It is the responsibility, instead of the power, that the official position gives to us," said Yu, also a member of the Party's top leadership. "We're not special. We cannot be above the law."

He added that assuming the responsibility of serving the people is the key of an official's work.

Yu has gone online to speak to the public several times before.

Zhang Qingli, secretary of the Hebei Provincial Committee of the CPC, said in an online blog that it is urgent for officials to be energetic and dive into their work.

"We should provide a chance for people who have a desire to work, a stage for people with working capabilities, and important posts for those who have had achievements before," he said.

"What we should do is to encourage diligent officials, criticize the ones who can only deliver lip service, and deal with those who create disorder on our team. We cannot arrange idle positions and feed idlers," he said. "The key is to implement what we say in conferences and write on documents."

Zhang Baoshun, secretary of the Anhui Provincial Committee of the CPC, also spoke to the public through the platform, saying officials at all levels should be modest and close to the public.

"Our posts and power are not for showing off," he said. "We'd better have more closeness to residents and avoid bureaucracy."

As for fact-finding trips to grassroots areas, high-level officials should not ask people to accompany them, he said. "Instead, we should dispense with all unnecessary formalities, and not burden and disturb local people."

Although many Chinese officials and governmental departments began to use micro blogs to interact with netizens two years ago, "it is only now that so many high-level officials interact with Web users via a popular online platform", said Zhou Xiaopeng, deputy editor-in-chief of the online giant Sina.

He said on Friday that they planned the project since September and will invite more provincial officials to share ideas during the congress.

"It's good timing, because it's the year of the leadership reshuffling," he said.

It is rare to see officials at the provincial level to open micro-blogging accounts in their official capacity now, he said.

In March 2011, Zhang Chunxian, the Party secretary of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, opened his micro blog account with his real identity, arousing the public's attention at that time.

Hu Min, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Governance, welcomed high-ranking officials to present their opinions online, and said it is also a challenge for them.

"With the fast development of the new media, officials have to learn how to work online and interact with netizens. Otherwise, they can't keep up with the public's ideas and thoughts," he said.

However, Shan Xuegang, a researcher at the website of People's Daily, said that making the officials' work better and solving real problems of netizens after online talks are more important.

"Speaking online is the first step, but dealing with issues practically and effectively is the key," he added.

Many netizens also said that they will pay more attention on the effect of the officials' voices instead of the speaking itself.

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