In 2011, the number of government-initiated
micro-blogs grew exponentially. The number of verified micro-blog
accounts backed by government agencies and officials on Sina Weibo,
China's biggest Twitter-like micro-blog service, doubled within six
months and reached 17,000, covering almost all Chinese
administrative organs. Government departments in every province,
municipality and autonomous region on the Chinese mainland now
The rapid development of government
micro-blogs is part of an explosion of interest in micro-blogs
which began in 2010, dubbed the "Year of the Micro-blog in China."
The government has been using micro-blog accounts to increase
transparency and connect with the people. According to the 28th
Statistical Report on Internet Development in China published by
China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the number of
netizens in China had reached 485 million by the end of June 2011
and the number of micro-blog users had surged by 208.9 percent to
reach 195 million from 2010's 63.11 million.
Micro-blogs have a 140-character limit per
post and can be updated through computers and mobile phones from
virtually anywhere at anytime, which enables government agencies to
promote social services and government officials to interact with
Government micro-blogs are playing an
increasingly important role in promoting government work and
supervising government activities.
In 2010, for example, the Shanghai Metro
opened its official micro-blog, which provides information on train
operations and passenger flow in the country's most complicated
subway system. During the difficult period preceding the 2012
Spring Festival holiday travel surge, the Shanghai Metro has been
posting information on road and rail conditions four times an
During emergencies such as the July 23
high-speed train crash and the rush to purchase salt and water
after the March 11 Japan earthquake in 2011, government micro-blogs
also played an important role in quelling rumors and alleviating
the public's anxiety by publishing accurate information in
real-time. During the 2011 Spring Festival, more than 800 police
micro-blogs nationwide collaborated to provide live updates on the
latest security development and transportation.
The rise of government micro-blogs is a symbol
of the further modernization of China's administrative system.
These micro-blogs are changing the way information is disseminated
in the country and are also changing the way government departments
receive and process information.
Ultimately, however, government micro-blogs
are just a communication tool. To ordinary people, much more
importance lies in the service system behind the micro-blog. Only
by publishing timely, accurate information, solving problems, and
being transparent, considerate and highly efficient, can government
micro-blogs truly serve the public.