Voting starts now at The Bobs awards for online activism

http://www.dw.de/voting-starts-now-at-the-bobs-awards-for-online-activism/a-17531362

AWARDS

Voting starts now at The Bobs awards for online activism

Censorship, Edward Snowden and Ukraine are the big topics for finalists in The Bobs awards for online activism. Now it’s up to the public to look over the nominees and cast votes for the winners.

Deutsche Welle The Bobs 2014

There has been a lot of news over the last year to serve as inspiration for Internet activists. Increasing censorship and attacks on citizen journalists and systematic government surveillance have sparked new ways of encrypting data and protecting communications. Protests in Turkey last summer are still on the minds of many even as the world looks to see how the futures of Ukraine and Crimea will develop.

For many of the people whose projects have been nominated for The Bobs, DW’s annual award for the best in online activism, the Internet is one of the few free places left. Whether it’s women’s rights, activists in Arab countries or individuals who openly criticize the government in China, they face potential prosecution, imprisonment or worse for their work to promote human rights and freedom of expression.

We can make a difference

Russian blogger and Bobs jury member Alena Popova says she expects much attention to be paid to the situation in Ukraine and ties to Russia.

Alena Popova<br />
Alena Popova said online activists can make a difference

“Online activism has shown that Russian society is ripe for change,” says Popova. “We help each other and can make a difference. Not even state propaganda can shake this belief.”

More than 3,000 submissions were made by Internet users to The Bobs 2014. It was up to the 15-member jury to select the best in each of the contest’s categories.

Starting Wednesday, voting for the winners begins in all 14 of the contest’s languages – including the six main, multilingual categories where projects from around the world go head-to-head.

From human rights to a grumpy chancellor

thug-notes.com (Screenshot)Thug Notes bills itself as ‘Classical Literature. Original Gangster.’

Among the choices at thebobs.com: “Um lar para Snowden” a campaign for Brazil to offer asylum to former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

There’s also Lantern, a peer-to-peer network that allows people with unfettered Internet access to share websites, which their friends in less open countries can’t get to.

The Facebook page EuroMaydan serves as an important source of information for events in Ukraine and is followed by more than 280,000 people.

Emmabuntus.org provides an operating system that keeps older computers up and running in developing and emerging nations.

And in the “Most Creative and Original” category there are knitters, a grumpy world leader and a hip-hop look at classic literature.

The public has until May 7 to cast votes for their favorites to win The Bobs People’s Choice Awards.

Since it started 10 years ago, The Bobs have also awarded Jury Awards determined by discussions among the jury panel.

As authoritarian regimes continue to make life difficult for bloggers, citizen journalists and human rights activists, the Jury Awards highlight the work of people who raise their voices in support of freedom of expression.

Among the jury are Arash Abadpour, a Toronto-based Iranian blogger, Shahidul Alam, a prize-winning photographer and international activist who founded the Human Rights Network in his home of Bangladesh.

Chinese university professor Hu Yong has joined The Bobs jury for a second year, though he is unable to take part in the panel’s deliberations in Berlin as the Chinese government has “recommended” that he does not leave the country.

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China’s Tough New Internet Rules Explained

Hu Yong

09.10.14

On August 7, the State Internet Information Office issued a new set of guidelines entitled “Provisional Regulations for the Development and Management of Instant Messaging Tools and Public Information Services.” These regulations require that instant messaging service providers who engage in “public information service activities” obtain “Internet news service qualifications”; that users of instant messaging tools authenticate their own identities before registering; that users who open public accounts in order to provide “public information services” undergo “examination and verification” by the instant messaging service provider; and that this information be sorted and put on file with the “controlling department for Internet information and content.” In addition, articles on current events may be published or reprinted only on public accounts owned by media organizations and news websites, or reprinted on public accounts owned by non-media organizations that have obtained “Internet news service qualifications.” No other public account that has not been officially approved may publish or reprint such content.

Let’s take a careful look at these new provisions and try our best to tease out all the implications.

1. What are “qualifications,” and what is “content”?

National legislation about information transmitted via the Internet, particularly Internet news, generally confines itself to two concepts: “qualifications” and “content.” The new Instant Messaging Regulations—colloquially known as the “WeChat Articles”—take a similarly binary approach. Consider this passage from Article 7:

Public accounts maintained by news organizations and news websites may be used to publish or reprint current events reporting, and public accounts set up by non-news organizations that have obtained Internet news service qualifications may be used to reprint such articles. Other public accounts may not be used to disseminate or reprint news about current events without approval.

Who can publish or reprint news about current events, who is only allowed to reprint it, and who may not do either are all questions of “qualifications.” What constitutes “current events reporting” is a question of content.

2. What constitutes “current events reporting”?

The WeChat Articles are, for the most part, extensions of existing controls on Internet content. I like to think of them as taking the regulations that govern Internet use on personal computers and transplanting them wholesale onto the mobile web. For example, when the new regulations came out, everyone on WeChat was asking the same question: Do opinion pieces count as “reporting on current events,” as described in Article 7? Not many individually-held public accounts are capable of breaking original news stories, but what about the host of public accounts that offer commentary and analysis of current events? These are the accounts that are most likely to be charged with what the government calls “disseminating malicious rumors.” And what about finance and technology—does that count as “current events reporting”?

Actually, the 2005 “Provisions on the Administration of Internet News and Information Services” include a detailed description of what constitutes “current events reporting”:

Article 2. Internet news and information services entities in the People’s Republic of China shall follow these provisions.

The news and information services in these provisions refers to news and information on current events, including reports and comments related to politics, economics, military affairs, diplomatic affairs, and so on, and reports and comments on sudden social occurrences.

The Internet news and information services in these provisions refers to publishing news and information, providing bulletin board services for current events, and transmitting current communications to the public via the Internet.

According to this definition, opinion pieces and articles on finance both clearly fall under the umbrella of “current events reporting.”

3. The “learning curve” effect.

The 2005 provisions were formulated before the mobile web revolution, and so pertained only to websites, online forums, text messages, etc. Now, these same regulations have been grafted onto the mobile web.

In the WeChat Articles, it’s easy to see where earlier measures for controlling Internet use on personal computers have been extended to cover the mobile web. Requiring users to register with their real names, and encouraging governmental institutions, companies, and civic organizations to maintain public accounts are the same strategies that were used earlier to conquer the rogue turf of Weibo. This goes to show that from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, and now in the age of the mobile web, the government has felt its way to a fairly effective strategy for regulating the Internet, and can adjust quickly to the latest technological developments. The Chinese government is a quick study, and has made powerful use of the learning curve effect: The more frequently they perform a task, the less time it takes for them to get up to speed.

4. What’s “new” in the new WeChat regulations?

Probably the most important new twist is a stricter control over grassroots media—the kind of unofficial, amateur journalism practiced on WeChat using “public accounts.”

Blogging reached its peak in China during 2005 and 2006, but in those days there was no high-minded talk of “grassroots media.” However, the blogging craze turned us into a nation of writers, and then, when Weibo arrived on the scene, we went from a nation of writers to a nation of one-person news outlets. Everyone loved Weibo—both ordinary folks and the élite—and it took the whole country by storm. But even when Weibo was at its liveliest nobody was talking about the idea of grassroots media.

The grassroots media sensation really took off with the advent of mobile web technology, which introduced new ways of producing and disseminating content. It reached its culmination in WeChat, whose public accounts, introduced on August 23, 2012, allowed individuals and organizations to create mass postings of text, pictures, recordings, and later video. This turned WeChat from a private communication tool into a media platform. At the same time, because users could form circles, WeChat had the potential to become a tool for social organization—much more so than Weibo had been.

This prompted the Internet monitors to step up their game, and at least on paper their regulation of WeChat public accounts has been far stricter than their policing of Weibo’s Big V users [its most influential users, who have been verified not to be posting under a pseudonym]. Right now, a Weibo account with several million followers doesn’t need any “qualifications”; but a WeChat public account with a couple thousand subscribers does. Of course, we don’t know whether a similar set of regulations governing Weibo’s Big Vs is waiting in the wings.

All this hammers home how risky the media business is in China, since it’s so vulnerable to the shifting winds of government policy.

5. Gray areas in the new regulations.

Article 4 of the WeChat Articles reads:

Instant messaging service providers shall obtain corresponding qualifications as stipulated in laws and regulations. Instant communication tool service providers engaging in public information service activities shall obtain Internet news service qualifications.

What exactly are “Internet news service qualifications”? Articles 5, 7, and 8 of the 2005 provisions define them explicitly:

Article 5. Internet news and information services entities shall be divided into the following three classes:

(1) Internet news and information service entities publishing news and information that is beyond the range of what the entity has already published, providing bulletin board services for current events, and transmitting current communications to the public.

(2) Internet news and information services entities that are established by non-news organizations and that reprint news and information, provide bulletin board services for current events, and transmit current communications to the public.

(3) Internet news and information services entities established by news entities and that publish news that the entity has already published or broadcast.

The establishment of Internet news and information services entities prescribed by Items 1 and 2 of the above clause shall be examined and approved by the Information Office of the State Council in accordance with the Decision of the State Council on Establishing Administrative Exams and Approvals that Must Remain Subject to the Administrative Licenses and the relevant administrative regulations.

The establishment of Internet news and information services entities of Item 3 of Clause 1 of this article shall apply for registration to the Information Office of the State Council or the Information Offices of the provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central government.

Article 7. Internet news and information services entities fulfilling Item 1 of Clause 1 of Article 5 shall be subject to the following conditions:

(1) They shall have complete administrative rules and regulations.

(2) They have more than five full-time news journalists with more than three years of information work experience.

(3) They have the necessary facilities, equipment, and capital, and such capital shall be from legal sources.

The institutions applying to establish Internet news and information services entities shall be central news organizations of the provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities directly under the central government and news organizations directly under the municipalities of the people’s governments of the provinces and autonomous regions.

[ … ]

Article 8. The establishment of Internet news and information services entities complying with Item 2 of Clause 1 of Article 5 and in accordance with Clauses 1 and 3 of Article 7, in addition shall have more than ten full-time news editors, of whom more than five shall have more than three years’ experience working in news and information entities.

The organization that applies to establish an Internet news and information services entity prescribed by the above clause shall be a lawfully established legal entity engaging in Internet news and information services for more than two years and it shall not have violated any of the laws, rules, and regulations on Internet news and information services in the last two years; the applying organization shall be an enterprise legal person and it shall have a minimum of RMB 10,000,000 in registered capital.

[ … ]

These regulations say nothing at all about individuals. But now for the first time, using WeChat’s public accounts, individual citizen journalists are challenging the Internet censorship regime. Under the new policies, is it legal for public accounts created by individuals to offer analysis of current events? If so, to whom should they apply for “Internet news service qualifications”? What conditions do they need to meet in order to apply? What’s the procedure? And what criteria will be used to grant or deny them “qualifications”?

Article 7 of the WeChat Articles also stipulates:

Instant messaging service users opening public accounts in order to engage in public information service activities shall undergo examination and verification by the instant messaging service provider. The instant messaging service provider must file this information in a categorized manner with the controlling department for Internet information and content.

This article clearly places an obligation on the shoulders of service providers to maintain whitelists of allowed users.

So if an individual user wants to apply for a public account with an instant messaging service provider, what’s the procedure? How long does the “examination and verification” process take? If public account holders who haven’t published information about current affairs before want to start doing it now, is there a supplementary procedure? All of these are gray areas in the new regulations.

In the past, when gray areas existed in rules governing Internet use, service providers and users were left to interpret them themselves and act accordingly. This system of dual responsibility on the part of websites and website users will, almost certainly, influence the way WeChat is regulated, although right now the regulations don’t explicitly pertain to individual users and groups. One likely consequence, however, is that the new regulations will pose a challenge to the internationalization of the WeChat platform.

6. The vetting process is central to “qualifications.”

In the new regulations, “qualifications” take the form of a permit. But a permit is just a legal concept; what’s most important is the vetting process used to grant the permit. The requirement that public account owners obtain “Internet news service qualifications” and that current affairs reporting be restricted to news organizations means that the regulation of WeChat will proceed along established courses, which is to say that the Chinese Internet economy is doomed to be hampered by bureaucratic red tape. The Internet used to be the least regulated sector of the economy, which created an explosion of entrepreneurship. But now “Internet permits” are setting up economic roadblocks, which suck up time and effort on the part of business owners and, when quotas are used, often encourage rent-seeking behavior. Permits increase costs for businesses, and the governmental institutions tasked with administering them generally make a mess of things, or else do nothing at all.

7. A new style of regulation for new forms of content.

Actually, a system of permits like these was already in place before the Internet came along. In China, during the pre-Internet era, channels for speech and expression were controlled using a handful of “floodgates,” each of them manned by a particular controlling department. The book publishing, newspaper, magazine, recording, and printing industries were managed by the General Administration of Press and Publication. The radio and television industries were supervised by the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television. The Ministry of Culture oversaw literature and art and the development of the cultural marketplace, and the Ministry of Public Security was in charge of combatting pornography and “unhealthy” information. The National Copyright Administration was responsible for managing and protecting copyrights.

At first the government saw online information services as no different from traditional activities, just carried out in a new medium. But as the Internet underwent explosive growth, every individual could potentially become a publisher, a press office, a radio station, or a TV station, and the state began to deepen and broaden the system of permits it used to control the flow of information. For example, in early 2008 the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television issued a circular decreeing that beginning on January 31 of that year, not only would any company providing online video broadcasting services be required to obtain an “Online Film Broadcasting License,” but all companies offering such services must be state-funded enterprises or companies in which state-funded enterprises owned a controlling share.

Many new kinds of media could not be mapped neatly onto the existing agencies, but the government persisted in trying to regulate them according to the old categories. Not only was the controlling department for each kind of media required to manage new content using the old system of permits, but special regulations were issued targeting new online news aggregators, like the “Administration of Internet Electronic Messaging Services Provisions,” “Several Provisions of the Beijing Municipality on the Administration and Development of Microblogging in Beijing,” and most recently the WeChat Articles.

8. A unified administration.

The responsibilities of the various departments often overlapped, and it was inevitable that squabbles would arise as departments jockeyed for power, competing to extend their own areas of jurisdiction. When the Central Internet Security and Informatization Leading Group was established on Feburary 27, 2014, it was a sign that the government was moving toward a unified administration for online information management, in hopes of cutting down the number of cooks in the kitchen. The State Internet Information Office (SIIO) was originally part of the State Council Information Office, but it later split off and became the overarching organization responsible for regulating the Internet. It was the SIIO that issued the WeChat Articles, and from now on it’s likely that many of China’s Internet regulations will bear the stamp of this organization.

9. The lack of a transparent legislative procedure.

The SIIO’s new regulations share a key trait with other Chinese legislation regarding the Internet, which is that they were made by governmental departments, not legislative bodies. In general, the administrative regulations of the State Council, the departmental regulations issued by its various departments, and the ordinances passed by provincial and city governments all fall under the umbrella term of “executive legislation.” Though originating at different levels of government, they are all considered “laws.” In addition, there is another category, “Other Normative Documents,” which are not considered laws but which exist in great numbers and affect legal practice. It is generally these “lower-level” regulations, which are more concrete and targeted, that the “front line” administrative organs rely on in their enforcement of laws. And it is to these regulations that private parties usually look for guidance on what is considered legal. The WeChat Articles fall under this category; the process by which they were passed was not transparent.

10. The scope of the law is key.

When the new regulations are put into practice they will probably be selectively enforced and frequently flouted, because they are so incomplete. The problem with the Chinese government’s Internet regulations is that they are often ambiguous and too broad in scope, which turns ordinary people involved in everyday activities into potential targets for attack. The ambiguous nature of these regulations gives Internet monitors a great deal of latitude when it comes to enforcing the law. Monitoring can be easily taken to extremes, like when the city of Zhaoqing in Guangdong province recently ordered all owners of WeChat public accounts to register in person at the Public Security Bureau.

As I’ve noted before, though we have a vast array of rules governing Internet use, their names almost never include the word “law.” Most are simply regulations, and many are “provisional,” even though some have been in place for many years. This is one area where Chinese Internet law remains inadequate. And of course, in reality it doesn’t matter what the law is called; what matters is how effective it is, and how it’s enforced.

Widely disregarded, selectively enforced laws are damaging to the legal climate, devaluing the rule of law. To paraphrase Montesquieu, there are two kinds of social ills: when people don’t respect the law, and when the law itself encourages bad behavior. The latter is an incurable curse, because the medicine itself is what is causing the problem.

* * *

In conclusion, I’d like to tell a personal anecdote that illuminates the contradictions inherent in the new instant messaging regulations.

The day after the regulations came out, I posted an essay on my public WeChat account entitled “How to Read the WeChat Articles,” criticizing the new regulations for their ambiguity and for the opacity of the legislative process. Someone from the Public Security Bureau read it and posted a reply, saying, “Hu Yong’s article violates the new regulations.”

Sounds ridiculous, right? But strictly speaking, what the public security official said was true. My article counts as “reporting on current events,” since the 2005 Provisions clearly state that analysis of the news falls under this category. As an individual WeChat user, if I want to offer “public information services” I ought to undergo “examination and verification” first. And the regulations define public information services extremely broadly, as “distributing information to the public through public accounts on instant messaging tools and other means.” In other words, if I, as an ordinary citizen interested in public affairs, want to write comments about current affairs on my public WeChat account, I need proper qualifications and official approval; otherwise, I’m breaking the law. This reminded me of a question I heard posed by the head of a media organization: “The new regulations issued by the SIIO say that you need a permit to reprint anything related to current events. Now, I feel like I owe it to my fellow citizens to let them know about this groundbreaking new legislation. Technically, I can’t, because I need a permit. But how else am I going to share the news with my friends who don’t read Xinhua? Don’t blame me if they go on unwittingly breaking the law.”

The “channels-and-floodgates” method of controlling the media still works fine for the few remaining traditional media sources. But applying it to the million outlets of the grassroots media is like trying to close a door with a sieve. Furthermore, if people with WeChat public accounts are forbidden from publishing commentary on current affairs, then what about Weibo? Will that be forbidden too? Will the voices of the blogosphere be silenced?

Translated by Austin Woerner.

 

http://www.chinafile.com/reporting-opinion/viewpoint/china-tough-new-internet-rules-explained

 

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習一日兩會兼顧公平與發展 劃定7年改革路線圖

http://www.nanzao.com/tc/china/35704/xi-yi-ri-liang-hui-jian-gu-gong-ping-yu-fa-zhan-hua-ding-7nian-gai-ge-lu-xian-tu

習一日兩會兼顧公平與發展 劃定7年改革路線圖

習近平表示該規劃對今後7年的改革實施工作作出了整體安排總施工圖總台賬

2014年08月19日 下午4:40

 

(南早中文網訊)內地官方通訊社披露,國家主席習近平昨日(8月18日)接連召開兩場重要會議,部署改革。上午是中央全面深化改革領導小組會議,敲定未來7年的改革路線圖,劍指國企薪酬、考試招生制度等社會公平問題,下午則是中央財經領導小組會議,研究實施創新驅動發展戰略,挖掘經濟新增長動力。

中新社的報道指,這兩次會議兼顧了“分蛋糕”和“做蛋糕”兩大問題,昨天中央深改組第四次會議,體現人們寄望頗多的“頂層設計”功能,會議對央企負責人薪酬、考試招生制度這兩項改革方案的審議,與習近平對公平正義的強調一脈相承。

18日的深改組會議總結了今年上半年改革的進展,并審議通過了《黨的十八屆三中全會重要改革舉措實施規劃(2014-2020年)》。

習近平表示,該規劃對今後7年的改革實施工作作出了整體安排,突出了每項改革舉措的改革路徑、成果形式、時間進度,是“總施工圖”和“總台賬”。

習近平強調,做好下一步工作,關鍵是抓住突出問題和關鍵環節,找出體制機制癥結,拿出解決辦法,重大改革方案制定要確保質量。實施行動要抓到位,掌握節奏和步驟,搞好統籌協調。督促檢查要抓到位,實行項目責任制,分兵把守,守土有責,主動出擊,貼身緊逼。

去年11月12日十八屆三中全會閉幕,會議通過《中共中央關於全面深化改革若干重大問題的決定》,其中列出60項改革任務,有內地媒體統計,截至目前,已經啟動的項目有39個,覆蓋市場經濟、簡政放權、城鎮化、司法改革、文化教育、就業收入、環境保護、軍民關係、黨風廉政等方方面面。

深改組的第一次會議主要完善了領導小組本身的規章和工作制度,今年2月召開的第二次會議,開始有了實質領域的改革方案,6月召開的第三次會議關注財稅體制和戶籍制度改革。

昨天召開的第四次會議,關注的領域仍然為大眾所矚目:央企負責人薪酬制度、考試招生制度、傳統媒體和新興媒體融合等。

習近平在會議上明確要求,逐步規範國企收入分配秩序,對不合理的偏高、過高收入進行調整,除了國家規定的履職待遇和符合財務制度規定標準的業務支出以外,國企負責人沒有其他的“職務消費”,必須堅決根除按職務設置消費定額并量化到個人的做法。

前國務院參事主任、現任國家教育咨詢委員會委員任玉嶺向中新社表示,央企負責人的薪酬目前存在3個方面的不公平,包括行業之間;企業領導和普通員工之間、體制內人員與臨時聘用人員之間;部分國企負責人職務消費鋪張浪費。

任玉嶺認為:“不瞄準、解決這些問題,改革就難以深入”。

對於內地考試招生制度,18日的深改組會議拿出的初步改革方案是:總體目標是形成分類考試、綜合評價、多元錄取的考試招生模式;構建銜接溝通各級各類教育、認可多種學習成果的終身學習立交橋。

任玉嶺指出,目前招生過程中,一些制度沒有建立,造成不少“走後門”、搞關係的現象發生,對職業教育的歧視則是另一個亟待解決的不公平問題。

北京大學教授于長江認為,上述方案基本吸收了過去十多年教育界對考試招生制度的反思批評和探索研究的成果。

他認為,中國現在的問題是,考試標準對紛繁複雜的社會現象照顧不周,往往只代表一種情況,反映學生一方面的素質,所以改革的一個重要思路就是多元化招生。

于長江也談到了對職業教育的歧視。他說,平等看待普通教育和職業教育,不僅是簡單的技術層面問題,還需要深層和價值觀的調整。

深改組會議還審議通過了《關於推動傳統媒體和新興媒體融合發展的指導意見》。

習近平指出,推動傳統媒體和新興媒體融合發展,要強化互聯網思維,著力打造一批形態多樣、手段先進、具有競爭力的新型主流媒體,建成幾家擁有強大實力和傳播力、公信力、影響力的新型媒體集團,形成立體多樣、融合發展的現代傳播體系。

習近平還強調,有一手抓融合,一手抓管理,確保融合發展沿著正確方向推進。

北京大學新聞學教授胡泳向《南華早報》表示,隨著傳統媒體影響力逐漸減弱,中央政府可能加大對新媒體平台的政治和財政支持。

北京外國語大學副教授喬木認為,當局正加強對所有媒體平台的控制,所以新媒體的影響力有限。喬木說,當局仍希望嚴格控制意識形態。倡導發展新媒體不會真正改變媒體行業的性質。

18日下午,習近平主持召開中央財經領導小組第七次會議,研究實施創新驅動發展戰略。

習近平在會議上強調,主導國家發展命運的決定性因素是社會生產力發展和勞動生產率提高,只有不斷推進科技創新,才能實現經濟社會持續健康發展。

他就實施創新驅動發展戰略的基本要求提出4點意見,包括跟蹤全球科技發展方向,有所為有所不為,著力攻克一批關鍵核心技術;大力集聚創新人才,用好科學家、科技人員、企業家,學會招商引資、招人聚財並舉;建立健全機制體制,讓機構、人才、裝置、資金、項目都充分活躍,推進政府科技管理體制改革;全方位加強國際合作,引進來和走出去相結合,積極融入全球創新網絡。

習近平要求,抓緊實施國家重大科技專項,選擇一批體現國家戰略意圖的重大科技項目和重大工程,研究提出中央財政科技資金管理改革方案,研究在一些省區市系統推進全面創新改革試驗。

國家信息中心經濟預測部主任祝寶良認為,中國經濟轉型的核心就是要從要素驅動,轉向創新驅動。目前中國實施創新驅動戰略面臨3個方面的問題:教育、轉化、投資——沒有好的人才、科技轉化仍較多聚焦產能過剩行業、風險投資對創新支持保障不足。

國家發改委產業經濟與技術經濟研究所研究員姜長云特別點出產能過剩的問題。

他說,當前中國的產業結構問題,最突出的是產能過剩,這個問題的形成,除了體質機制因素之外,一個重要原因是創新能力不足,許多產業出於全球產業鏈低端,形成產能週期性過剩、結構性過剩,甚至絕對過剩等問題。

據統計,目前內地專業技術人才總量近6000萬,但高精尖人才仍然不足。

中國與全球化智庫主任王輝耀表示,當前中國高層次人才發展呈不可持續裝填,“人才赤字”仍然巨大,人才流失仍然嚴重,客觀存在“人才壁壘”。要解決這些問題,就要樹立開放的人才觀,加緊制定完善中高層次人才出入境和居留等政策,改革教育體制,鼓勵中外合作辦學。

國家行政學院經濟學教研部主任張占斌認為,會議提出的改革舉措與當前大力推進的簡政放權、財稅體制改革、科技體制改革、教育體制改革密切相關,今後應該把各項相關改革的頂層設計和實施創新驅動發展戰略統籌考慮和實施。

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中央或加大對新媒體平台政治和財政支持

http://www.nanzao.com/tc/china/35642/zhong-yang-huo-jia-da-dui-xin-mei-ti-ping-tai-zheng-zhi-he-cai-zheng-zhi-chi

中央或加大對新媒體平台政治和財政支持

習近平要求建立幾家擁有強大實力和傳播力富有公信力及影響力的新型媒體集團

Teddy Ng

2014年08月19日 上午11:33

 

中國國家主席習近平昨天主持召開中央全面深化改革領導小組會議,期間呼籲在本土建立新型主流媒體。

早前,一年一度的北戴河非正式領導人閉門會議結束,不久內地也將迎來一系列重要事件,包括已故領導人鄧小平誕辰110周年,以及將於10月舉行的中共四中全會。

據新華社報道,昨天的會議討論了各種改革舉措,包括規範國企高管薪酬。

習近平昨天還主持召開中央財經領導小組會議,期間要求加快調整經濟發展模式。

新華社報道稱,中央全面深化改革領導小組會議審議通過一份報告,報告倡導傳統媒體與新興媒體融合發展,並要求著力打造一批“形態多樣”、“手段先進”、“具有競爭力”的新型媒體。

據報道,習近平要求建立幾家擁有強大實力和傳播力、富有公信力及影響力的新型媒體集團。

他說,當局須適當推動傳統媒體和新興媒體的融合和管理,確保融合發展沿著正確方向推進。

新媒體在內地很受歡迎。今年第一季度,即時通訊平台微信(WeChat)錄得近4億活躍用戶,微信公眾賬號總數也達到逾580萬個。許多記者也使用微信平台。

上月,《東方早報》出版商上海報業集團推出新媒體項目《澎湃新聞》(The Paper)。用戶既可在網上瀏覽,也可通過手機應用和微信閱讀。

北京大學新聞學教授胡泳預計,隨著傳統媒體影響力逐漸減弱,中央政府可能加大對新媒體平台的政治和財政支持。

北京外國語大學副教授喬木認為,當局正加強對所有媒體平台的控制,所以新媒體的影響力有限。

國家互聯網信息辦公室本月早前宣布,只授權通訊社和新聞網站在即時通訊平台上發布原創新聞內容。

喬木說,當局仍希望嚴格控制意識形態。倡導發展新媒體不會真正改變媒體行業的性質。

(翻譯/Jean Zhou;編審/Alison Yeung)

 

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Xi Jinping calls for new style of media organisation

Xi Jinping calls for new style of media organisation

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1576351/xi-jinping-calls-new-style-media-organisation

Reform initiative aims to create groups that are ‘diversified’, ‘advanced’, and ‘competitive’

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 August, 2014, 11:51pm

Teddy Ng in Beijing teddy.ng@scmp.com

 

President Xi Jinping called for the country to build a homegrown new media industry yesterday as he chaired the powerful central leading group for deepening reform.

The meeting came after the conclusion of the annual informal closed-door talks among Communist Party leaders at the seaside resort of Beidaihe in Hebei, and ahead of a series of key events including the 110th birthday anniversary of late leader Deng Xiaoping and the party’s fourth plenary session in October.

Xinhua reported that various other reform initiatives were discussed at yesterday’s meeting, including regulating the pay of top executives at state-owned enterprises.

Xi also chaired a meeting of the leading group for financial and economic affairs yesterday, at which he called for a faster adjustment of the economic development pattern.

A report on promoting the integration of traditional and new media was approved at the reform group meeting, calling for measures to be taken to develop new media organisations that are “diversified”, “advanced”, and “competitive”, Xinhua reported.

“Several new media groups that have strength, communication capacity, credibility and are influential should be established,” Xi was quoted as saying.

Authorities have to “properly integrate and manage traditional and new media, ensuring the integration is heading in the right direction,” Xi said.

New media is hugely popular in China. Nearly 400 million monthly active users were reported in the first quarter for the instant messaging platform WeChat, where more than 5.8 million content providers are disseminating information on its public accounts. Many journalists also use the platform.

The Shanghai United Media Group, which publishes the Dongfang Daily, last month launched The Paper, which is available online and through a mobile phone app and WeChat.

Hu Yong, a journalism professor at Peking University, expected the central government would give political and financial support for more new media platforms as the impact of traditional media dwindled.

Qiao Mu, an associate professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said the impact of new media would be limited because authorities were tightening their grip over all platforms.

Earlier this month, the State Internet Information Office said only news agencies and news websites were authorised to publish original news content on instant messaging platforms.

“The authorities still want to maintain tight control over ideology. The promotion of new media will not lead to any real change in the nature of the media industry,” Qiao said.

Additional reporting by Stephen Chen

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Xi calls for new style of media organisation

 

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2014德国之声Bobs新媒体大赛评选结果揭晓

2014德国之声Bobs新媒体大赛评选结果揭晓

07.05.2014

王左中右的字新闻获最佳原创评委奖。新公民运动获最佳社会运动公众奖。艾晓明工作室博客获中文新媒体奖(公众奖)。

德国之声Bobs新媒体大赛的国际评委在柏林经过两天激烈的辩论,评选出六个跨语种奖项的评委奖得主。与此同时,经过四周的网络投票,世界各地的网友从154个提名中,选出六个跨语种奖项的公众奖得主,以及各语言的新媒体奖。

评委奖得主是:

最佳博客

来自开罗的摄影师艾尔沙米(Mosa’ab Elshamy凭借令人印象深刻的照片赢得最佳博客奖。他用图片讲述开罗最新时事,也描绘埃及文化中的日常生活。目前,他正跟随拍摄年轻的开罗地下乐手们的生活。 2013年,《时代》周刊将艾尔沙米在埃及革命中拍摄的一张照片列为年度十佳图片之一。Bobs国际评委认为,“艾尔沙米以令人印象深刻的方式展现埃及社会的冲突与巨大鸿沟。”

最佳社会运动奖

视觉巴勒斯坦(Visualizing Palastine 获得最佳社会运动奖。该网站以信息图(infografics)的方式呈现巴勒斯坦的情形。不单涉及热点话题,如以色列修建定居点,也关注环境、医疗和教育的情况。国际评委认为,“该网站将一个非常复杂、且充满情绪的冲突以一种容易理解的方式呈现出来。”

最佳原创奖

王左中右的字新闻获得最佳原创奖” 在微博上,他用字创意的形式描述当天在中国社交网络上最热门的新闻。所谓字创意,就是以汉字(有时是英文)为原型,对其进行各种各样的关联变形,来表达某种批评含义。王左中右向德国之声表示,他是一个媒体人,现在在上海一家媒体集团做一个互联网新闻产品。他说,写字新闻主要是出于兴趣爱好,一般利用业余时间来写,获奖代表了这种形式得到了某种肯定,还是蛮开心。国际评委认为,在中国的网络环境下,王左中右的“字新闻”聪明且具创意。

全球媒体论坛奖

本年度德国之声全球媒体论坛(Global Media Forum的主题是信息与参与。印度地方周报新闻浪潮Khabar Lahariya 荣获该奖项。这份地方周报以六种印地语方言出版。12年来,一个女性团体负责该报的撰稿、制作与运营。这份报纸主要面向印度东部和北部的村民。那里基本没有互联网。“新闻浪潮”是许多人最重要的信息来源。国际评委认为,“民主政体的运作取决于所有人都有获取信息的权利,这份报纸充分显示了这一点”。

最佳技术革新奖

孟加拉盲文BanglaBraille项目对学校教科书进行数字化处理并以盲文印刷。此外,该项目网站上还提供学校教学材料的音频下载。孟加拉国有超过100万盲人。5万余名学龄盲童没有合适的教科书。“孟加拉盲文”项目由志愿者运作。国际评委认为,“孟加拉盲文”从根本上改变孟加拉国许多学龄盲童的命运,努力去解决政府严重失职所带来的问题。

记者无疆界奖

今年的记者无疆界特别奖由亚努科维奇解密YanukovychLeaks 获得。乌克兰前总统亚努科维奇逃离后不久,在他的别墅发现了被扔进湖里的文件。一些乌克兰记者正在收集和整理这些文件。“亚努科维奇解密”的目标是,对文件中大量的信息进行调查和分类。国际评委认为,特别在目前的危机中,对批评性记者提供支持十分重要,“必须鼓励他们勇敢前行”。

在公众奖中,中文获奖者有:

最佳社会运动(公众奖)

新公民运动以6000余票的高票数获最佳社会运动公众奖。新公民运动是由中国著名人权活动家许志永和民间机构“公盟”发起的全国性的公民运动,始于2012年5月,以“自由、公义与爱”为宗旨。主要依托互联网尤其社交媒体,联络全国各地维权人士。新公民运动呼吁同胞承担公民责任,积极履行公民权利尤其公民政治权利,推动整个国家以和平方式朝向宪政转型,并推动整个社会从臣民社会朝向公民社会转型。具体包括公民同城聚餐、要求官员公开财产、推动教育平等权等公益维权活动。因具有无领袖、无组织结构、无章程、无固定成员的“去中心化”特点,虽然自2013年3月以来数十名活跃人士(包括许志永)遭抓捕关押,但新公民运动仍在继续,并获得国际社会和国内主流的普遍同情与支持。新公民运动已将2003年以来的中国公民维权运动推到一个新的高度。

中文新媒体奖(公众奖)

艾晓明工作室博客 获中文新媒体奖。艾晓明是学者、独立制片人、人权教育工作者。本为中山大学教授的艾晓明从2006年起自觉地开始纪录片与社会运动相结合的创作实践,完成了《天堂花园》、 《中原纪事》和《关爱之家》等纪录片。2008年至2010年间完成《我们的娃娃》、《公民调查》、《花儿为什么这样红》、《忘川》和《国家的敌人》共五 部作品在内的川震校难纪录片系列。最新的纪录片是《新公民案审判》。

http://thebobs.com/chinese/2014/2014%E5%BE%B7%E5%9B%BD%E4%B9%8B%E5%A3%B0bobs%E6%96%B0%E5%AA%92%E4%BD%93%E5%A4%A7%E8%B5%9B%E8%AF%84%E9%80%89%E7%BB%93%E6%9E%9C%E6%8F%AD%E6%99%93/

 

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大陆互联网进入体制化时代

http://hk.on.cc/cn/bkn/cnt/commentary/20140813/bkncn-20140813000314990-0813_05411_001_cn.html

大陆互联网进入体制化时代

莫之许 独立评论人

 

“微信十条”之要害,并非设立资质审批,而是根本就没有资质审批。

 

近日,网信办颁布“微信十条”,进一步管束微信。此举在许多人预料之中,也已有不少分析,尤以胡泳先生的《有关‘微信十条’的十条》一文,最为精当。概言之,“微信十条”中最受人关注的是第七条:“新闻单位、新闻网站开设的公众账号可以发布、转载时政类新闻,取得互联网新闻信息服务资质的非新闻单位开设的公众账号可以转载时政类新闻。其他公众账号未经批准不得发布、转载时政类新闻”,而所谓时政新闻也包括评论,经济新闻,可谓一网打尽。

胡泳先生同时指出,资质的核心是审批,网络管理也越来越从“九龙治水”变为统一归口:“国家互联网信息办公室(网信办)原来与国务院新闻办公室合署办公,其后分开,成为一个管理互联网的超级机构。”不过,仅仅将第七条理解为审批,胡泳先生可能是误解或者疏忽了,根据第七条,只有“新闻单位、新闻网站开始的公共帐号”才可以发布时政类新闻,非新闻单位的公共帐号即使经过审批,也只能“转载时政类新闻”,这里的“新闻单位”和“非新闻单位”之别,不是业务内容上的区分,而是身份上的区分,第七条认可的“新闻单位、新闻网站”,指的是在现行主管主办制度,具有体制认可的身份的单位,而这种体制认可的身份,不是靠寻租就能“审批”得来的。

主管主办制是大陆文化管理体制的基本制度。主要内容是,设立国有文化单位必须有具备一定资质的主办单位和上级主管机关,如《出版管理条例》第十一条第二款就规定:设立出版单位,应“有符合国务院出版行政主管部门认定的主办单位及其主管机关”,同样的,影视领域里的电影制片厂、电视台,新闻领域里的报纸、刊物,乃至文化领域里的剧场、演出单位,无一而不具有主管单位和上级主管机关,并因此而得以设立。“微信十条”中第七条规定之“新闻单位、新闻网站”,指的是具有此种资质的体制单位。主管主办制度下,单位的设立是垄断和排他的,民间因为不具备主管主办资质,就不可能设立任何“单位”。

主管主办制度,遍及大陆整个文化领域。也因此,大陆并不具备通常意义上的“出版自由”和“新闻自由”。不过,却并非所有的出版业务或者新闻业务,都由体制内的单位来进行。其中最为突出的,当属出版行业,大陆出版行业一直存在所谓的“二渠道”或者民营出版公司,相当多的畅销图书,都由这些民营出版公司从头到尾制作完成,并进行市场营销,只是在现有管理体制下,民营出版公司的每一本图书,都需要经过出版社也就是具有此种资质的“出版单位”取得书号,才具有合法之资质,可以上市销售。同样的,在报刊领域,也可以租用刊号,进行经营。

上述现象的存在,不外市场新极权体制的一个面相。一方面,出于意识形态和思想宣传的考虑,体制要保持对于文化事业的直接控制,另一方面,随着市场化的展开,民众拥有越来越多的文化消费需求,依靠既有的体制单位又难以充分满足,这催生了两种现象,一是体制单位利用其垄断地位和资源优势,引入市场机制,创设派生的市场化平台,以满足民众的文化消费,所谓的市场化媒体即属此类,其垄断地位和资源优势则能帮助乃至保证其获得相当利益;一是体制单位利用其垄断身份,提供某种准入资格,以牟取收益,出版领域的“书号费”,即属其类。无论是哪一种方式,体制都保持了对出版内容的某种直接控制,而体制单位则充当了类似“看门人”的角色,书籍或者报刊的制作流程和纸质界面,则又保证了这种看门人角色的行之有效。

网络的出现,对上述运行带来了相当冲击。与报刊或者书籍不同,网络内容属于即时表达,不需要相应的制作流程,同时,BBS、博客以及最新的微博、微信等互联网应用,则给予了成千上万普通人直接发表的手段,在新兴社会阶层旺盛的文化需求支撑下,所谓“自媒体”也成为了可期的商业图景。蓬勃发展的网络内容表达,内含了诸多为体制不喜的成分,体制除采取删帖封号等方式,以及通过定点打击网络大V等方式进行警告之外,更试图从源头上加以控制。而商业图景的存在,则对体制单位本身的利益构成了冲击,如果允许所谓的“自媒体”自行发展,那么,充当体制看门人的现有新闻单位的地位和利益,势必遭到极大的冲击,而为了维持对文化领域的直接控制,体制又不可能不维持和保护现有的体制单位,也因此,出于内容控制和维持体制单位的双重目的,将主管主办制度延伸到互联网领域,乃是体制依据其意识形态逻辑的必然作为。

也因此,“微信十条”之要害,并非设立资质审批,而是根本就没有资质审批,“微信十条”相当于在网络空间里延伸了既有的主管主办管理制度,没有体制身份,即使“取得互联网新闻信息服务资质”,所能获得的,也无非就是“转载时政类新闻”的资格,而依旧不能首先发布,更遑论以此经营。此前针对搜狐等网站视频内容的罚款,对互联网盒子的管控,其实都是此一目的的展现,即具有意识形态属性的网络内容表达,依旧只能由体制垄断供应,与之相关的商业设想,也必须经由体制单位作为看门人,才能够获得合法运营之资质。

十多年前,在笔者刚从事出版行业的时候,尚有不少人幻想出版行业也会通过企业化、股份化的路径,逐步走向私有化,甚至以此寄望整个文化领域,然而,市场新极权体制出于意识形态和思想宣传的考虑,以所谓兼顾社会属性和产业属性的名义,在整个文化领域保留了主管主办制度和属地管理原则,牢牢地保持了对文化领域的直接控制,即使在书籍等相对民营成分较高的领域,也依旧维持了体制看门人的存在。

如今,这一逻辑也延伸到了互联网领域,一方面,体制鼓励其直接控制下的新闻单位、新闻网站积极尝试新媒体,试图以此占领正出于蓬勃发展阶段的新领域,如最近风头正劲的澎湃新闻,以及传闻中的深圳前海新媒体,都属于此类,另一方面,如“微信十条”所表明的,体制明确了不会放弃对于内容的监管乃至直接控制,这也就意味着,在现行文化管理制度毫无松动的前提下,互联网并非例外之地,而只会被进一步纳入既有的管理制度当中。

 

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From Control to Participation: The Structural Transformation of China’s Public Opinion

http://www.globalasia.org/Issue/ArticleDetail/561/from-control-to-participation-the-structural-transformation-of-chinas-public-opinion.html
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From Control to Participation: The Structural Transformation of China’s Public Opinion

By Hu Yong

 

As China has the world’s largest community of Internet users, it is not surprising that the impact of social media would be potentially more transformative there than in many other countries. But to truly understand the potential of social media in China, it is essential to put it into historical context and weigh its development against thousands of years of dynastic control over public discourse, writes Hu Yong, a professor at Peking University and one of China’s most widely read bloggers.
Published: Jun 16, 2014

IN ancient China, during the Warring States period, Shang Yang, a famous statesman of the state of Qin, advocated strengthening the king’s power. He believed that in “current times” when “strong states aim at annexation while weak ones are concerned to maximize their defense,” it was necessary to adopt strong laws, and that violence in the form of “punishment imposed on people at home and wars against other states abroad” was the only solution. He stressed that “laws are the life of people and the basis of the king’s rule.” Therefore, people must be taught to obey laws, he argued.

To ensure that people were well taught, Shang Yang appointed legal officers to teach all people throughout the state. In other words, Shang Yang empowered these officers to take over the educational system. He called this set of theories and practices Yijiao(literally “unified teaching”), which banned all thoughts and opinions against the laws and his doctrine of Nongzhan, meaning “agriculture and war” (Shang Yang believed that “the means whereby a country is made prosperous are agriculture and war”). According to him, “Yijiao will make inferiors obey superiors.”

Han Fei, a philosopher known for developing the framework of Chinese Legalism, inherited Shang Yang’s “unified teaching” and believed that “people, within the state’s boundary, when practicing persuasion and eloquence, must always conform to the law.” Han Fei said, “The literati disturbed laws by means of letters and martial heroes transgressed prohibitions by means of violence, yet the king still treats them both with propriety,” and this was the cause of disorder. A marked practice of “disturbing laws by means of letters” was “being half-hearted towards the king and engaged in private studies.” Therefore, “such practice must be banned, the gangs dissolved, their partisans dispersed.” Han Fei then put forward the renowned Legalist proposal for education: “Therefore, in the state of the enlightened sovereign there is no literature written on bamboo slips, but the law is the only teaching; there are no quoted sayings of the early kings, but the magistrates are the only instructors.”

Although Han Fei failed to implement his proposal, his fellow scholar Li Si (they were both under the tutelage of the great Confucian Xun Zi), a minister of Qin Shi Huang, finally pushed the edict throughout the Qin Empire. Qin Shi Huang was the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, and in the 33rd year of his reign (214 BC), Li Si proposed to burn all the copies of “the Classic of Poetry (Shi Jing), the Classic of History (Shang Shu), and the writings of the hundred schools of philosophy.”

Under his proposal, “the books that have exemption are those on medicine, divination, agriculture, and forestry” and “those who have interest in laws shall instead study from law officers.” As a result, Li Si brought to an extreme the belief of Shang Yang and Han Fei that “the law is the only teaching and the law officers are the only instructors.” Ever since, China’s rulers have enforced an orthodox code of learning, religious beliefs and social norms in order to put these recommendations into practice.

Adopting Qin Practice 

Mao Zedong once remarked, “All dynasties adopted Qin’s way of rule.” Although the Qin Dynasty did not last forever, despite Qin Shi Huang’s prediction to the contrary, he did create a system of centralized authority that united China and lasted for more than two thousand years. The residue of the system can be seen even in modern times. For example, Chinese today are familiar with the slogan, “Listen to the Party,” which is actually to listen to Party officials — a modern version of “law officers are the only instructors.” In the Cultural Revolution, the “great leader” was also referred to as the “great instructor,” who managed both politics and people’s thoughts. To manage thoughts was to eliminate dissidence from public opinion — a reflection of “people, when practicing persuasion and eloquence, must always conform to the law.”

When Mao started a campaign against “Hu Feng’s anti-revolutionary clique” in 1955,1he said, “there should be a unified public opinion as well as one set of unified laws.” By saying that, Mao meant that if there was anti-revolutionary dissidence in ideology and public opinion, the state legal apparatus should punish those who dared to dissent. Independent thinking by Hu Feng and his followers was at first deemed a “petit-bourgeois viewpoint,” then “anti-party and anti-people artistic thoughts,” and finally an “anti-Party” and “anti-revolution” crime. Hu was sentenced to a 14-year term in prison. At the end of December 1965, he was released from the notorious Qincheng Prison. But two years later he was imprisoned again and sentenced to life for the crime of “writing anti-revolutionary poems.”

The Hu Feng incident left behind a grim legacy — the “unification of public opinion” being ensured by the state apparatus and by laws. Expansive government control over ideology and severe restrictions on the freedom of expression were institutionalized, and exerted long-lasting influence. During the Cultural Revolution, “the unification of public opinion” was brought to an extreme and transformed into the idea that “the dictatorship of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie must be fully implemented in all areas of the superstructure.”

From Unified to Guided

After the Cultural Revolution, China’s political atmosphere became far more open, with much bolder criticisms and challenges to corrupt leaders and the bureaucracy. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) policy of “the unification of public opinion” turned into “the guidance of public opinion,” which means to encourage some kinds of public opinion while suppressing others. The Propaganda Department often told the tightly monitored state media that they should not be reporting on “wrong points of view” and instead should cover positive stories that promote “socialist values.”

Guo Luoji, a political commentator, pointed out: “‘The guidance of public opinion’ assumes someone’s opinion is superior to the society’s view and cannot be challenged. It imposes the principle of monopoly instead of the principle of competition.” In other words, even as the development of a market economy and the opening up of society mean public opinion can no longer be unified, the authorities still want to maintain the old structure of the “opinion field.” Market-oriented media have, to some extent, helped people air their ideas, but basically they are still affiliates of official media.

The situation began to change in the 1990s when the Internet emerged in China. But the real turning point came in the first decade of the 21st century when social media such as blogs and microblogs gained popularity.

What do social media mean for China? It is a gathering place for citizen journalism, allowing local news to become national. It is a home for public discourse, a national arena that transcends place and class as never before. It is a source of citizen action, where the people unite and struggle together to improve society. In sum, social media have massively strengthened the public spirit of China’s netizens, as shown in the emergence of the “online crowd.”

In other words, China’s public opinion has gone through a structural transformation. The so-called “mainstream public opinion field” no longer dominates discourse; a wave of popular opinion has arisen to compete with and challenge the official discourse.

Transformation of Opinion

Many acute observers have captured such a structural transformation. Nan Zhenzhong, the former Chief Editor of Xinhua news agency, said that there are now two public opinion fields in contemporary China: one is the “official field” represented by the party-controlled traditional media, and the other is the Internet. In the former, media resources are highly concentrated in the hands of a few, while in the latter, “gatekeeping” is greatly weakened. Anonymity on the Internet gives online commentators more sense of security and a greater desire for expression. As a result, the diversity of thoughts, lifestyles and cultures is far more obvious on the Internet. Hence, audiences prefer online media to traditional media.

Such a preference was explained by Qi Shuyu, a professor at China National School of Administration, when he interacted with readers at people.com.cn, the website ofPeople’s Daily (the official organ of the CCP). He said that People’s Daily is the mouthpiece of the party and the government, while the Internet is the mouthpiece of people representing their own voice. “We cannot turn the Internet into the party’s mouthpiece; otherwise, the very existence of the Internet makes no sense.”

Discussions in the two public opinion fields have very different topics, types of discourse and forms. The official media claim to represent “mainstream public opinion,” which, according to Zhang Shouying, Director of the News Research Center of People’s Daily, “promotes mainstream values of the state or the party.” He maintains that the mainstream media’s major task is to promote the principles and policies of the party and the government and to disseminate socialist core values. Mainstream media report news as well as “guide public opinion,” but in both roles, they have shown more of a one-way output.

Public opinion on the Internet has the opposite effect. The official public opinion field focuses on how the government creates a harmonious society rather than how civic culture develops, while the public opinion field of the Internet explores how citizens are motivated to influence the current political system through their creativity and initiative.

Less limited by codified social norms and institutionalized authority, the Internet has helped Chinese popular opinion emerge from obscurity. In the real world, many Chinese may still belong to the “silent majority,” while on the Internet they have the chance to voice their opinions and take actions they think proper. Online commentators have never been as active as they have in the past several years. Any significant incident, be it domestic or international, can give rise to a huge online discussion, arousing passions and stimulating actions that governments, institutions and public figures cannot ignore. Until recently, such a phenomenon was quite beyond the imagination.

The new interactive medium enables anyone anywhere to observe their social surroundings and inject a thought, a criticism or a concern into public discussions. Different forms of networks in the public sphere are in the making, through which everyone can speak, question and investigate without turning to traditional media. As a result, we have seen a new and decentralized approach to government supervision. It also influences agenda-setting, starting new political discussions as well as re-arranging the issues that concern most people. In sum, people who were once “subjects” and part of a passive audience now become potential contributors to political dialogue and actors on the political stage.

Hu Yong is a professor at Peking University’s School of Journalism and Communication, and a well-known New Media critic and Internet pioneer. He is also an active blogger and microblogger. His blog boasts a readership of 6 million, and his microblog has more than 2 million followers.

NOTES
1 Hu Feng, a leftist literary theorist, was a leading proponent of the subjective view of literature who asserted an active and dynamic role for the self in the creative process. Hu stood for a position in the leftist literary field that was opposed to the political, utilitarian view of literature held by Mao Zedong and the cultural bureaucrats of the Chinese Communist Party.

REFERENCES
Guo Luoji, “What Are the Benefits of ‘Uniformity of Public Opinion’?” http://blog.boxun.com/hero/guolj/202_1.shtml.

Han Fei, Han Feizi, Zhong Hua Press, 2007.

Mao Zedong, “In Refutation of ‘Uniformity of Public Opinion’”, in Selected Works of Mao Zedong, Vol. 5, People’s Publishing House, 1977, pp. 157-159.

Nan Zhenzhong, “Close Ties with the Masses as a Focal Point to Improve News Coverage,” Chinese Journalist, March 2003.

Qi Shuyu, “We Cannot Turn the Internet into the Party’s Mouthpiece,” June 26, 2009, http://news.163.com/09/0626/17/5COHP9610001124J.html.

Shang Yang, The Book of Lord Shang, Zhong Hua Press, 2009.

Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian, Columbia University Press, 1993.

Zhang Shouying, “Some Rules of Mainstream Newspapers,” News Front, March 2012, http://paper.people.com.cn/xwzx/html/2012-03/01/content_1051256.htm?div=-1.

 

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