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Sunday, 7 November 2010

The march of the netizens

When Zhong Jizhang, an engineer in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, discovered that a company building an extension to one of the city's underground lines had cut corners and breached safety standards - and had then produced a fake report claiming the problem had been resolved - he knew just what to do.
He published the information on his blog.

The internet has rapidly developed into one of the major channels of communication for Chinese citizens
Within days it had been picked up by the local media and the city government launched an investigation into the case which bore out his findings.
In the northern province of Hebei, meanwhile, a 22 year-old driver knocked down two female students on a university campus, apparently while travelling at many times the speed limit. One of the women died from her injuries.
When students and security guards tried to stop him leaving the scene, the man yelled at them not to meddle with him, since his father was a local police chief. It was the typical response of the privileged and powerful in China's system. Yet the young man's belief that this would protect him turned out to be badly misplaced: news of the incident was posted online and the story picked up by mainstream media. Angry internet users launched an online search to track down the man's identity.

These two cases are typical of the growing use of the internet in China to expose misdemeanours and abuses.

1 comment :

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