Drinking Tea: Weibo Bridges Chinese Netizens & Government Agencies by Luwei Rose Luqiu

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和对政府的反应// 本文由闾丘露薇撰写。闾丘露薇是中国记者,专栏作家,作家及博客主。本文由媒介通讯记者 Nicole Wang 翻译,由媒介研究员Corey Abramson编辑。

//10月13号凌晨2:25网民@Tinaanddavid 发布了一条状态讲述了她和她老公近日在上海晚上外出遇到的一件事。通过新浪微博,她愤怒的讲述了一群喝醉的外国人阻止一个年仅5岁的小女孩儿卷入一场性交易的事件。经过不停的拨打报警电话,警官们终于到场解救了那个女孩儿,可是此事就此不了了之。

愤怒的情绪覆盖了微博,微博用户开始大肆传播这件事。只是因为其他微博用户全面循环转发,警察局联系了@Tinaanddavid, 向她保证他们在进行调查,并在调查结束后告知她任何新的进展…

几个月前,我碰巧在北京看到一个坏的人行横道灯。当我给政府热线打电话投诉此问题时,客服代表很支持,并记录下细节。然而一周后,当我又来北京出差时,我发现灯还是坏的。对此感到沮丧的我在微博上发布了这件事儿。第二天政府官方微博给我回复,并且仅仅过了一小时,灯就修好了。

微博上有成百上千的政府官方微博(多数属于公共安全局)分属于不同城市的警察局(包括北京,广州和上海)。和推特网相似,微博用户可以通过圈(@用户名)那些官方微博让他们知道举报的案例。政府账户回复的速度和网民知道事件的程度,事件流传的程度和其他网名对原状态回复的程度有关。如果大V(知名的用户)分享甚至转发原投诉状态,政府的反应似乎会加速。

我同意警察应该通过传媒来提高效率和透明度,但我同时也可以看出警察也通过微博这个平台来维持他们的公共关系

另一个居住在上海的网民 @FoxEatBun(@吃包子的狐狸),因为一天前他在微博上发布的内容被当地警察在一个有意思的情境下拘留。 和 @TinaandDaivd, 类似,微博用户@吃包子的狐狸也发生了和政府有关的一件事。在他通过微博宣传印有“市民”,“自由”,“正义”和“爱”的T恤和雨伞后,上海警察袭击了他的仓库。

倍感沮丧的@吃包子的狐狸通过微博诉说了他对这件事的观点,对他的货物因所印内容而被充公感到不开心。文字大肆宣传,用户对这件事感到愤怒。和@TinaandDavid不同,@吃包子的狐狸做了让人意想不到的事。

他在微博上征集志愿者去警察局门口请愿,希望可以增长支持他的人气。在他状态发布的五个小时后,@FoxEatBun 接到警察局来电,让他去“谈话”。他极有可能在警察局过夜。这件事有意思的地方是,这个网名在微博上根本没有圈政府的官方微博。但是他做的是通过微博这一平台散布他的“问题”T恤和雨伞。通过这个,警察发现了他的仓库,并对这个微博用户进行了近一步行动。通过他对微博的情感宣泄,政府发现了他打算聚集群众在警察局门口请愿的计划。人们可能会辩解说这仅仅是新浪微博的本质,即被监控和审查。但是对于中国微博用户来说,这边的草完全没有推特网那边的绿。如果一个中国网民发布信息对推特质疑,他或她就有可能被警察或者国保(国家安全局工作人员)请去做调查。中国网民通常将此称之为“喝茶”。作为一个媒体工作者,我多次因为我的推特状态受到警告—这使我意识到中国网民在墙里发布状态可能不太安全,在墙外发布状态常常也很危险。

//闾丘露薇是中国知名记者,专栏作家,作家和博客主。她对战争的报道覆盖阿富汗,伊拉克和利比亚。她也覆盖国内和国际主要新闻事件,从2004年的飓风,到2008年的汶川大地震,从阿拉伯春天,到2011年日本地震都有她的新闻报道身影。她是Nieman研究员,并在中国出版了6部书籍。闾丘露薇在2007年创建了非盈利网站www.my1510.cn。1510(yiwu yi shi 一五一十)中文意思是“客观和诚实的诉说事情”. 网站通过博客的形式吸引了中国不同题材的作家。此网站同时发布每周摘要,总结一周发布的文章和对不同热点的点评。
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//CGCS Media Wire presents a look at civic engagement, protest and government response in China through micro-blogging platform Weibo.

// Written by Luwei Rose Luqiu, Chinese journalist,columnist, writer and blogger. Translation by Media Wire correspondent Nicole Wang. Edited by Media Wire Fellow Corey Abramson.

On October 13th, at 2:25am netizen @Tinaanddavid posted a status update about an experience her husband had during a recent night out in Shanghai. The Sina Weibo post angrily described the actions of a drunk local attempting to pick up a five year old girl to be swept off into the sex trade.  After a frantic call to the police, authorities arrived, released the girl and then proceeded to do nothing else.

Outrage flooded the micro-blogging platform, as users began to rapidly spread the story. Only after the post had been thoroughly recirculated by other Weibo users did authorities contact @Tinaanddavid, promising her that they would begin to investigate and inform her of any details once they had finished…

Several months ago, I came across a broken pedestrian light in Beijing. When I called the government hotline for addressing such matters, the operator was supportive, and took down the details.  A week later, however, when traveling through Beijing again, I found that the light remained broken. Frustrated with the situation, I posted about it on my Weibo account, and next day, the official government Weibo account replied. After just one hour, the light was fixed.

There are hundreds of official government Weibo accounts –  most of them belong to the Public Security Bureau –  the police offices from different cities (including Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai). Similar to Twitter, Weibo users can mention (@username) these accounts to let the appropriate authorities know about reported cases. As to how fast the government accounts will respond, it seems to  depend on how many people notice, circulate and respond to the original posts.  If the Big V (users deemed exceptionally viral and influential) are the ones to share or even more so post the original complaint, reactions from government agencies seem to be expedited.

While I do agree that the police should use social media to improve their efficiency and transparency, I can tell the police also use the micro-blogging platform as a way to keep up with their PR as well.

Another netizen living in Shangai, @FoxEatBun(@吃包子的狐狸), was detained under interesting circumstances by local police for something he had posted on Weibo just a day before.

Much like @TinaandDaivd, fellow Weibo user @FoxEatBun had a grievance with something government related. After promoting T-shirts and umbrellas printed with the words “citizen”, “liberty”, “justice” and “love” on Weibo, Shanghai police raided his warehouse inventory.

Frustrated, @FoxEatBun took to Weibo and voiced his opinion on the situation, unhappy that his goods were being confiscated because of the content printed on them. Word spread, and fellow users began to rally around the case, and then unlike @TinaandDavid, @FoxEatBun did something unexpected.

He called for volunteers to petition in front of the police office, hoping to stir support for his side of the issue. About five hours after his rallying post, @FoxEatBun received a phone call from the police who asked him to come in and “have a talk”.

He would wind up spending the night at the station.

What is interesting about this case, is that this netizen specifically did not mention (directly link with the ‘@’ command) the Weibo account associated with authorities at any point.  He did, however distribute his ‘questionable’ T-shirts and umbrellas through the Weibo platform.

Through this, police discovered and found his warehouse, leading to further action on the micro-blogger’s part. After his outburst to the Weibo community, authorities then discovered his plans to gather people and petition in front of the police office.

People may argue that this is simply the nature of  Sina Weibo, which is known for being  monitored and under inspection. But for Chinese micro-bloggers, the grass is not any greener on the Twitter side of the fence. If a Chinese netizen tweets something questionable to Twitter, he or she may  be “invited” by the police or Guobao( national security official) for interrogation, which Chinese netizens have come to affectionately call “drinking tea.”

As a media professional, I have been warned several times about my own Twitter posts – this made me realize that while it may not be safe posting inside the wall, for Chinese netizenry, posting outside the wall is often just as treacherous.

//Rose Luqiu Luwei is a influencial Chinese journalist ,columnist, writer and blogger. She covered the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.She also covered all major domestic and international news events, from Tsunami in 2004, the Great Sichuan Earthquake in 2008 to the Arab Spring and the Japan Earthquake in 2011. She is Nieman Fellow and published six books in China. She founded a non-profit website www.my1510.cn in 2007. 1510(yi wu yi shi 一五一十)is a Chinese idiom which means “to tell things objectively and honestly”. It’s blogging platform that brings together essays by a range of Chinese writers. It also produces a weekly digest roundup of recent essays and articles on different hot issues.

 

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