PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 April, 2013, 3:05pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 April, 2013, 3:49pm

Communist Party mouthpiece website deletes poll after embarrassing results


Ivan Zhai is the Social Media Editor at the South China Morning Post. Prior to his current position, Ivan spent 10 years working for the Guangzhou-based 21st Century World Herald and in the Post's Guangzhou bureau, covering Chinese politics, macroeconomics and online communities. In 2008, Ivan won an Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship. He shares his findings and thoughts on digital media, cognitive neuroscience and China on Twitter and Chinese microblogs as @ivanzhai.

The website of a state-owned magazine closed an online poll it was running on China’s existing political system a few hours after it went viral on Twitter on Monday morning after respondents showed a lack of faith in the Communist Party.

The poll was launched by the website of the People’s Forum, a central-level magazine run by Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily.

The magazine’s research centre posted four questions online and asked netizens if they agreed with them or not.

The questions were: does the Communist Party have enough courage and wisdom to push forward reform; does socialism with Chinese characteristics represents the fundamental interests of the people; is the Communist Party the only party that can guide people to follow socialism with Chinese characteristics; and are you satisfied with China’s political system of multi-party co-operation under one party’s leadership?

Participants were able to see the automatically generated results on the site after voting. By the time the site closed the poll, a total of around 3,000 people had voted and about 80 per cent of them had disagreed with all four questions.

A staffer at the magazine responsible for the readers’ hotline said the poll was launched early last month. Another staffer with the research centre admitted that they were the organisers of the poll, but said it was only for internal research.

“We do not want any media coverage on this internal research and we might let you know the final result once it is done,” the staffer of the research centre told the Post by telephone, declining to give his name or further details.

According to the questionnaire, the purpose of the poll was to find out how strongly Chinese people believed in the concept of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” - the doctrine late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping came up with to advance economic reform three decades ago.

He Qinglian, a Chinese scholar now living in the United States, was among the first to see the poll on Monday morning. He posted a link on Twitter at 10.35am and an hour later other Twitter users said the poll was closed.

Some Chinese netizens said the poll showed changing public attitudes to the ruling party, while others pointed out that as the number of respondents was very small the results were meaningless.


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