Xu Zhijun walked into a meeting room with the State Council staff in Beijing on Jan 13, and found his seat, along with nine others, marked by a nameplate printed with an”@” symbol.
Netizens who, like Xu, are active online watchers of the country’s political life, were offered a chance to talk directly with people who work every day on national policies.
In an effort to boost communication with citizens and the transparency of government information in the Internet age, the government’s website held its first offline interactive event with readers.
Xu, known as Xu Xiake on his Tencent micro blog, was among the 10 invitees. He has been zealous in launching “campaigns” online for the improvement of society, including the “clear plates” campaign, which advises people not to waste food at restaurants.
The 10 were randomly selected from 117,000 people who voted in a poll－Netizens’ Choices of the Top 10 State Council Policies of 2014－through the government’s micro blogs on Sina.com and QQ.com.
The government website has 37 million viewers following accounts on various social media platforms. The website, www.gov.cn, organized by the General Office of the State Council, was launched in 2006. Together with its English-language version, english.gov.cn, the site is the official online communication platform of the State Council and is a gateway to find out information about the government at both central and provincial levels.
The No 1 policy, according to votes cast, was for streamlining government procedures for approvals, followed by improving medical services and making household registrations easier.
The netizens also aired their views and gave feedback on how the policies have had a positive influence on their lives and careers.
The official in charge of the central government’s website said he felt the netizens’ sense of responsibility, and he shared their vision and passion toward developing a better society.
“As the old saying goes, ‘The wisdom is among the people’. Their opinions are really refreshing,” he said.