There was some buzz last week on the Chinese internet about this supposedly new concept of Online Democracy. The excitement started with the weird “elude the cat” story, and then continued when Premier Wen JiaBao chatted online with “internet friends” . David Bandurski of the China Media Project, who has been watching these things for a long time, was rather sceptical, although some interesting ideas appeared in his comments.
I go back to this because I am surprised there hasn’t been much said about the internet chats that for the first time have been organized with legislators participating in the NPC-CPCC Annual Sessions. Where has all this gone? Not even the Chinese language internet seems to be very interested, judging by the search 网络民主. It is obvious that without a strong push of the propaganda machinery the “internet friends” don’tpay much attention to these initiatives.
And why didn’t the State Media push it this time? Perhaps they are bored of it already, or perhaps not everyone was very hot for the idea of “online democracy”. For example, NPC chairman Wu Bangguo, one of the strong men in the politburo standing committee, who made these encouraging statements yesterday.
In the end, it is not so much about democracy (that’s too big a word for the NPC), but more about trying to give it some sort of role in participatory politics that would allow the legislators to take into account at least some requests of the public. The problem is, this year again, the NPC has given an image of being just a big annoying “Carnival”, where the guest’s only role was to clap at the words of Mr. Wu.
Did I say the only role? No wait, the deputies also have the duty of making proposals, and some of them must be pretty talented, judging by their phrases “amazing like thunder”.
ULN takes you for a browse
But follow me for a minute as I browse the Chinese internets, see what interesting things we can find on this subject. A good place to start is izaobao, with their daily roundup of bloggy stories: Click to continue »