China’s rise over the past 30 years has changed the world. In return, China has also been transformed by the outside world, not least in the rise of the country’s cyber society.
There are more than 470 million netizens in China, and not just among the swelling ranks of the middle class, there are also migrant workers, passionate youths, powerful governmental officials, businessmen and artists all eagerly all eager to make cyber statements.
Never before has there been such an egalitarian society in China. Such a responsive public sphere has never existed in China before. This flat online society compresses real-life society to such an extent that any subtle itch, if not timely managed, will explode into a convulsive jerk electrifying the whole body.
The space between civil society and the government has been squeezed, so that the county truly is guojia, the Chinese word for country, which is made up of two characters meaning the government and the family.
However, the cyber society also poses unprecedented challenges for the government. How to live with netizens has become a pressing concern for the Chinese government, as thanks to the government’s flexibility and openness, Chinese netizens enjoy tremendous freedom of speech.
The Internet society is an active power encouraging constructive discussions about various social and governance problems, from exposing corruption to investigating food safety problems, making great contribution to promoting government transparency and good governance.
In response to this the government has had to follow a steep learning curve so as to respond quickly to the issues discussed online and address people’s concerns with concrete actions in a timely manner.
The government is now able to effectively discern and clarify rumors online with its cutting edge expertise and overview of social problems.
In this sense, the Chinese government has successfully engaged with the cyber society while pursuing good governance in real world, which benefits a lot from a well-managed online environment.