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China Daily Website

Micro blogs prove effective tools for government to inform the public

Updated: 2012-11-01 00:30
By AN BAIJIE ( China Daily)

Micro blogs are now the first place many government agencies release information in emergency situations, according to a report issued by a micro-blogging website.

More than 33,000 government bodies and more than 17,800 government officials had registered and verified micro blogs on Sina Weibo, China's biggest micro-blogging portal, by the end of September, according to a quarterly report released by the website on Monday.

More than 15,200, or about 30 percent of government micro blogs, are run by public security authorities, and more than 9,400 micro blogs are run by the Communist Youth League authorities, said the report.

The report said that increasing numbers of government bodies chose micro blogs to publicize information in emergencies — for example, the public security authorities in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing and many other cities called on the public to express their patriotism in a reasonable manner when the anti-Japan protests broke out in mid-September.

The report praised the micro blog run by the Beijing municipal government, which updated its account with up-to-the-minute safety and rescue information during the heavy rainstorm in July.

Grassroots-level government bodies are more actively involved in using micro blogs, with 80 percent of government micro blogs run by agencies below county level, according to the report.

In the report, Sina Weibo released a chart showing the performance and influence of the government micro blogs on the basis of comprehensive indexes including the number of posts they write every day, how many times the posts were forwarded and how many followers they have.

The micro blog of the Shanghai municipal information office tops the chart, and the Shanghai metro's micro blog ranks second.

Gao Yuan, a police officer with Beijing public security bureau, has more than 1.64 million followers on her micro blog, even more than some celebrities.

The information on her micro blog varies — from tips on how to avoid being cheated, to jokes, for which she receives feedback from her followers.

Liu Wei, deputy director of Lanshan district public security bureau in Rizhao in East China's Shandong province, said that it takes him an average of two to three hours a day to update his micro blog.

"It has become one of the most important things for me, to interact with my followers on the micro blog," Liu said, adding that he has more than 24,700 followers.

He always forwards news report of different crimes and reminds netizens to be cautious of illegal activities.

Wang Xuming, president of the Language and Culture Press and former spokesman of the Ministry of Education, said that micro blogs have become a popular channel for the public to receive information.

"It's a trend for government officials to interact with the public through micro blogs," he said.

Liu Xiaoying, a professor of news media research at Communication University of China, said some government officials need training to be able to communicate with the public through micro blogs.

"Some officials are still speaking in a tough and dry tone to the public in their micro blogs," he said. "Only those softer-speaking officials will be welcomed by the netizens'."