Cadres start blogging to reach communities

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 October, 2009, 12:00am

With a quarter of the mainland's 1.3 billion people now internet users and 155 million using mobile phones to surf the internet, Web chat and blogging have become activities that officials have decided they cannot afford to overlook.

In 99 counties in Jiangxi province, in the southeast, more than 60 county chiefs or local Communist Party bosses have set up blogs since July last year, to 'increase interaction with internet users'.

The government-run website lists officials who use their real names to open blogs, and says tens of thousands of users have visited them in the past few months.

This came after Jiangxi party chief Su Rong wrote an article in People's Daily ordering all local officials to 'use every means to communicate with the people'. He said chatting on the Web with common people was 'a necessary duty of modern government cadres'.

Among about 60 blogs by Jiangxi officials, the one of Nanfeng county party secretary Fu Qing is most popular, attracting more than 70,000 users and thousands of comments.

He has posted 16 articles, including discussions on the county's development and local economic and livelihood problems. In his most visited post, he asked for ideas to help villagers sell the county's 650,000 tonnes of oranges.

But many internet users have questioned the move and dismissed these blogs as purely political show.

'I don't believe the internet can really bring the government and the people close,' one internet user commented in a message posted online. 'It's all talk and no action.'