China Internet Opinion Leaders Continue to Concern Regime
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences recently
highlighted in the “Social Blue Book” that around
300 national opinion leaders have more influence
on the internet than the media and government.
Commentators consider that the Chinese people ‘s pursuit
is of deep concern for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
has published it ‘s “Social Blue Book: 2014
Society of China Analysis and Forecast.”
In the section on internet public opinion, it says
that although some prominent netizens have
been silenced, internet opinion leaders still exist.
The Blue Book said that China has 103 Chinese
micro-blog websites, and 1.2 billion user accounts.
Among those users accounts, there are 19,000
accounts who have fans of over 100,000 fans.
There are 3,300 accounts with 1 million fans,
and 200 accounts with over 10 million fans.
In addition, among these accounts, there are about 300
national opinion leaders dominating online public opinion.
29 people are from government and military systems, and
120 people having professional experience in the system.
For example, well-known netizen called
“10 years woodcutter” worked in a ministry.
They then became an independent columnist
and internet celebrity in the media.
This was through state council institutional reforms.
Among these people, the majority live in first-tier big cities.
63% live in Beijing, 90% are male, and 83%
were born between the1950s and 1970s.
Their influence is mainly in micro-blogging, with some
having greater influence than state media and the regime.
The majority of opinion leaders from second-tier
cities have experienced and witnessed deep suffering
at grass-roots levels, which speaks to young people.
On December 30, the CCP mouthpiece People’s Daily
public opinion monitoring room released a commentary.
To some extent, internet “opinion leaders" become public
spokespersons to petition the government and exert pressure.
The People ‘s Daily suggested using CCP “united front"
tactics to accommodate them, after there has been an
assessment of their ‘constructive and cooperative spirit’.
This, it stated, will reduce their antagonism with the system.
Beijing current affairs expert Hua Po, says that
it is not only the 300 online celebrities who play
the main role influencing public opinion in China.
Many Chinese civilians are strongly
dissatisfied with the CCP system.
This cannot be resolved by
using any “united front” method.
Hua Po: “This is kind of helplessness from the CCP.
What has been done through cracking down on
internet expression is just a short-term solution.
They will continue.
The CCP will carry on purging influential
bloggers, and will not stop half way.”
Current affairs commentator Xing Tianxing says that
Western countries ‘internet is more advanced than in China.
However, freedom of expression
wasn ‘t improved through the internet.
The CCP ‘s ‘one-voice rule ‘ controls
the direction of public opinion.
Thus, it continues to provoke public resentment.
Xing Tianxing: “The more the CCP controls freedom
of expression, the more the regime is renounced.
In Western countries, this problem is seen far less.
No matter how advanced social networks develop,
it couldn’t replace the role of mainstream media.
This is because public voices and rights are
able to be heard through mainstream media.”
Xing says that the public persist in seeking
their right for freedom of expression.
This continues to concern the CCP,
that it’s influence and power will be lost.
After the CCP 18th National Congress, the
new leadership vowed to fight corruption.
The internet began to vigorously echo this action.
Netizens reported on large numbers of corrupt officials.
Voices calling for the disclosure of officials’ continue
to be a strong feature of internet discussions.
In August 2013, the regime arrested thousands of online
activists, in the name of cracking down on “online rumors”.
This included the detention of influential blogger
Xue Manzi, under allegations of “hiring prostitutes”.
On September 10, the Supreme Court and Supreme
Procuratorate jointly introduced new measures.
It claimed that if a message is reposted over 500
times, the author will face arrest and imprisonement.
Hua Po says that the Blue Book suggests the
CCP will not ease suppression on the internet.
On the contrary, censorship will
be continued and strengthened.
Hua Po: “The ancient saying goes that it will
cause more harm to stop the free flow of
people’s thoughts, than to stop that of the rivers.
I think the outcomes of this suppression is serious.
It likely can be maintained in the short-term, but
in the long-term,it is very harmful for the regime.
Isn ‘t it a saying, to explode
in the silence or to die in it.”
Hua Po says that once complaints accumulate
to a critical point, people will uprise, and the
CCP will begin to suffer the consequences.
Interview & Edit/LiYun Post-Production/Chen Jianmin