Sunday, November 26, 2006

Communist china goes blogging

Beijing: Around 20 officials from a town in eastern China have set up their own blogs after being encouraged by a local Communist party leader, state media said on Saturday.
During a recent meeting, Zhang Xinshi, the party’s number one in Suqian, in the Jiangsu province, asked the heads of various departments in the town to write blogs “to get the discussions and observations of everyone, to allow the public to check things, and to maintain an efficient and clear channel of communication between party officials and the masses,” said Beijing News.
In his blog, Zhang describes his various activities and holds forth on the damaging effects of spitting in public, a practice still common in China despite campaigns by the government to stamp it out.
However, the Chinese journalists noticed that visitors to the site are not allowed to post their comments immediately, a fact the town’s computer department explains is simply a technical issue.
While the Communist government considers the internet a useful tool in the economic development of the country, it also clamps down on any political opposition that appears there. Several blogs are regularly shut down by the authorities.
Reporters Without Borders said recently that “in a country where you can spend ten years in prison for some messages posted on the net, writing a political blog under your own name is a high risk activity”. AFP

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