Weibo, Chinese for micro blog, has risen as a tool for deputies at the National People's Congress to hear and relay the people's political voices.
With more than 120,000 followers, Ye Qing, a deputy from Central China's Hubei province, is one of the most active weibo users of the roughly 3,000 NPC deputies.
Communicating with his followers through weibo, he said, has become his daily job. And this year, many of the proposals he plans to hand up to the NPC originate from weibo communications.
"Weibo has totally changed the way I work as an NPC deputy. It exponentially increases the number of people that I can hear from," Ye said.
Before, Ye said, he could hear only from a small number of people through visits or phone calls, but now with a weibo application on his iPhone, he can read complaints from the public whenever and wherever he wants.
Ye, who is also a deputy director of the Hubei provincial bureau of statistics, now receives thousands of weibo messages a day. He said he is often "surprised" by the quality of advice netizens offer.
A longtime critic of government spending on official cars, Ye has made proposals on the issue over the last eight years. This year, he said he has been able to substantially improve his proposals by hearing the public's opinions through weibo. "The micro blog is a tool that provides me with real collective wisdom," he said.
Du Bin, an NPC deputy from Shanghai, also said he goes on weibo "a couple of times" a day and is sometimes "enlightened" by the comments he receives.
China has more than 300 million micro blog users.
Li Dongsheng, chairman of electronics maker TCL Corp, was one of the first NPC deputies to collect proposals through weibo and has received proposals from more than 1,000 netizens on issues including property prices, taxation and education.
In a post in February, Li wrote that weibo can "arouse more social consciousness and summon power to make society better".
The news alert programs by the NPC and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference have been added to the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad users to download.
"I use iPad every day to deal with my daily work. In particular, it's convenient for me to communicate with netizens through it on micro blog," Long Jiang, an NPC deputy and chief of Yunnan provincial science and technology bureau, said on Thursday on the sidelines of the annual sessions.
Gao Changxin and wang qian
(China Daily 03/09/2012 page8)