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China Announces More Open Gov’t., Less Open Internet

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New American
January 26, 2012

In response to rising citizen demand for government transparency and efficiency, this year China plans to defog the secretive workings of the government and ruling Communist Party, a senior official said Wednesday. “In this new year, we will adopt an even more open attitude and even more forceful policies,” asserted Wang Chen, a Chinese propaganda official.

The Chinese government will expand the overseas spread of state media, strengthen the presence of its spokespeople, and nourish the rising trend of microblogs to provide more information to the public. Wang indicated that emergency response systems and information about the government’s day-to-day activities will be streamlined and expanded to provoke interest and encourage public interaction.

China’s authoritarian one-party political system has strapped a tight leash on government departments, leaving officials with little accountability to public opinion and allowing policies to be implemented without democratic consent from its citizens. But rising incomes and public demand for government transparency have forced departments to boost the role of public relations and to address political concerns from the media and the general public.

Much of the information wave has stemmed from the Internet, as most government departments now have websites and microblogs (similar to Twitter) that they use to publish news and important information.

However, while Chinese officials tout a new “transparency” in government, its intrusive Internet censorship laws remain perfectly intact. In recent years, China’s Internet traffic has undergone explosive growth, with 513 million people now online and over 250 million registered microbloggers, more than any other country.

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This article was posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

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