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“Ensuring social openness and dispelling misunderstandings” is the goal of the Chinese state government according to the Xinhua news agency. At a conference earlier this week, Huang Ming, vice-minister of public security said that the aim was to assist law enforcement officials in using microblogs or weibos. Weibos can be compared to Twitter and include websites such as Sina which has some 200-million users.
Haung said, “Internet users are one of the major groups of our society and they are not satisfied. Public security microblogging should gradually cross the country to each province and city and form the backbone of public security.”
He added that the Chinese police force has now opened more than 4 000 accounts for the close to 5 000 policemen across the nation who will be using the microblogging platforms.
The Chinese have the largest online population globally, and are currently at 485-million users. Public and private citizens are losing interest in official news reports and have now begun to turn to these microblogging platforms to discover the unfiltered news reports.
These microblogs are officially more active than Twitter reportedly claim eight times the number of users of Western social media platforms.
Sina’s Webio has proven itself a popular and effective public platform for reporting police abuse and governmental misdeeds. Chinese newspapers are easily influenced by government authorities, with many stories being banned if they are anti-establishment.
A story regarding a Chinese tourist being brutally beaten in Beijing was outright banned in many of the local newspapers. Private security was hired by the local hotel staff to conduct the assault. The internet was ablaze with updates regarding the story and with Chinese police now joining in the social media crowd, the assault could have been dealt with sooner.