China / Government

Social media making rural CPC committees more efficient

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-09-02 15:18

HEFEI - Just as many rural Chinese are no strangers to chatting and shopping on mobile gadgets today, Communist Party of China (CPC) officials in the countryside are exploring ways to do a better job with the technology.

There are large parts of poor rural China where few people own computers. At a fraction of the cost, however, smartphones are more widespread, and they are connecting people through social media in a way that was never before possible.

East China's Anhui Province is a leader in CPC committees and Party members staying in touch with each other via apps WeChat or QQ. Official accounts are used to consult Party members and also post job advertisements.

The latter prove particularly useful in Anhui, where 40 percent of the rural working population are migrant workers. Seventy percent of these work outside the province, according to official data, so it's easy for them to lose touch with their hometown CPC committees.

"I follow the WeChat account of our township's Party committee, and I like the recruitment information it sends me. The jobs pay well," said Liu Jie, a Party member in Shibali Township who works in Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang Province.

Li Hanhui, a Party member in Huatuo Township, said the local Party committee regularly consults members on their needs and the development of Huatuo.

In October 2014, Li, then working in Shanghai, became an official CPC member after the committee launched an online poll to decide whether to accept her. Probationary Party members used to have to attend a face-to-face hearing to gain full membership.

Since a pilot project was launched last year in Qiaocheng District of Anhui's Bozhou City, 22 townships, including Shibali and Huatuo, have gained their own WeChat accounts to deliver services to Party members, according to Long Hui, who heads an office coordinating rural CPC committees in Bozhou.

The system is even helping non-Party members. In Shibali, 19-year-old Lu Xiaozeng has been one of the beneficiaries.

Last summer, Lu, who had been accepted by a university, sent a message to the WeChat account of the township's CPC committee. "My mom is mentally ill. My dad, who is also in poor health, supports the family with a meager income. We can't afford college. Can anyone help?"

The administrator of the account immediately asked village officials to check on Lu's situation and then posted the message to another WeChat account dedicated to charity. Soon, a local company offered to fund Lu's college tuition.

At a national meeting on strengthening rural Party committees in June, Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, called for the organizations to bear more responsibility for rural reforms and improving local living conditions.

"Grassroots Party committees in the countryside have long been inefficient," said Professor Xie Chuntao with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

In recent years, media exposure of rampant corruption among village heads and their teams has prompted CPC leaders to attach more attention to improving rural Party organizations, according to Xie.

Adopting mobile Internet technology is definitely one way these organizations can do their jobs better.

According to the China Internet Network Information Center, by the end of 2013, the number of rural residents who access the Internet via mobile phones had reached 149 million, accounting for nearly 85 percent of all rural Internet users, five percentage points higher than the ratio in cities.

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