Chinese politicians on the internet: Fu Rong

March 26, 2006, [MD]

EastSouthWestNorth has long been among my favorite blogs about China, providing real insights into the media and internet world by posting long translations of newspaper articles, forum postings and the like. That’s where I got the story of Fu Rong, the mayor of Lingao in Hainan, who logged on to one of the most popular discussion sites in China, Tianya under his real name, and started to communicate with the users. At first they were shocked, and refused to believe that he was who he said he was, but the forum called his office and confirmed that it was him. He even left a cell phone number, inviting people to call him with ideas and suggestions. Since then, there have been many discussion threads in the forum, and the users have treated him surprisingly “civilized” while he was finding his ropes in the internet world. (See ESWNs translation of an article from South China Daily, my favorite Chinese weekly newspaper).

During the national People’s Congress meetings, Danwei, another must read on media in China, who even started putting short TV shows online, talked about the blog aggregator put together by China Daily. Many of the delegates (about 3000 if memory serves me right) to the conference were blogging, and often the comment sections had hundres of comments. How sincere the attempt to engage with the citizens is, is of course debatable, and I am not raving about this as some great democratization. But it is a very interesting phenomenon, and at least in the case of Fu Rong, he seems to be very sincere. It’s always fun when China can “show the way” in uptake of new technology uses as well.

Stian\ Over at Arab E-Gov, they’re saying: in China, politicians are blogging, what about us?\ Photo by jfrichard

Stian Håklev March 26, 2006 Toronto, Canada
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