Individual, Collective, and Public Interest: Online Mobilization and Pursuing Aims in China

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个人利益,集体利益和公共利益:中国移动网络和追求利益

任孟山

中国传播大学

宾夕法尼亚大学国际传播学习中心访问学者

介绍

网络是当代中国最活跃和流行的媒体,大家都喜欢它。和其他媒体例如报纸,杂志,电视盒广播相比,网络更开放,同时没有过多的受到审查制度的约束。包括社会底层,越来越多的人使用掌上电脑手机,使得网络的影响达到顶峰。

网络对于大多部分人来说是一个转移的工具。自1979年改革开放以后,中国面临着一些社会问题。这些社会问题有时候成为严重的问题,特别是政府和公民之间的关系问题。这些问题甚至导致人民被当地政府攻击。

涉及到这些问题的人用网络将社会问题的焦点转移到当地政府或公司上。在社会学的观点里,有的集体这么做可以被称为时一个“社会运动”。但就中国一些特别的原因,他们没有一个典型社会运动所具备的所有特征。近些年的案例显示了网上转移现象不同的目标。我将它们分成三种形式:个人利益,共同利益和公共利益。以下是不同利益的实例和分析。

个人利益和网络转移

2007年3月,一个关于“最固执的钉子户”的文章在网络风靡。这个是关于中国的“钉子户”问题。“钉子房”指的是房地产公司要拆毁的老房子。这个“钉子户”是一对叫做杨武和吴萍的夫妇。他们因为不满意地产公司提供的搬迁协议费,尽管他们其他的邻居早已接受政府和地产公司提供的搬迁协议费。以下图片显示,他们的房子孤零零的留在拆除所有房子后的广场上(图一)。

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这对夫妇担心他们不在房子里的时候房子就会被拆毁。他们拍摄了照片,并撰文发表在一个BBS上。他们不仅发照片到网上,同时也进行抗议。抗议受到舆论的全面关注。他们在房子上方悬挂国旗(图二);在进行采访时,杨武手中拿着中华人民共和国宪法。这些行为有着显著效果。

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这些照片在网络上流传,网名对房屋的拆毁表示愤怒。许多人指责当地政府和房地产公司。传统媒体将“钉子户”事件做了全程报道。这些舆论对于当地政府施加了很大的压力。感谢网络,这对夫妇在转移行为中获得了胜利。为了取得最大的利益,他们利用网络转移社会力量,并在和房地产公司的协商中获取利益。

共同利益和网络转移

中国的“共同利益”指的是两个或以上个体的利益。例如说,一个工厂或者一个村庄里的农民是一个“共同组织”。共同利益也可以被称为“集体”,但通常集体没有任何组织。个体们都是就近居住。但工厂和乡村不同。就乡村而言,农民世代居住在那里,他们有共有地。公有地是指村民有权使用无所有权的土地。共有地的所有权属于大家,即村委会。农民和村维护有一个土地租用合同,而村委会通常就是政府的匿名体。为了村庄的稳定性考虑,合同的期限一般为30年或者更多。同时多数情况下,土地的使用权由农民所有。

在城市化的进程中,当地政府需要更多的土地给工厂和地产公司,所以租给农民的土地在当地政府的政策下,被村委会收回;被用高价卖给工厂和地产公司。农民得到的补偿比村委会得到的利益低得多。农民开始抱怨,他们希望有更多的补偿费。

如果农民的利益和当地政府的利益不一致,结果就会是“上访”。这个指的是农民越级到更高的政府部门或者中央政府来抱怨他们的利益受损。但是村委会尽一切可能的办法阻止农民向更高一层抱怨。

在近些年,许多农民利用网络来维护自己的权益。他们将自己的意见发布在BBS上,同时在一些高层的网站,例如新浪网,腾讯网网易,新华网等,留下评论。有时他们让在城市里工作的亲戚写文章并发表到网上。他们给媒体打电话要求采访。他们也会偶尔在网上联系政府领导,并有时通过非正规的公共关系计策吸引舆论。

比如说,河南省洛阳市洛东区大东村的农民写了一封《中国农民致美国总统奥巴马》的信。举报人在举报信中写道大东村村委韩书跃和他的家庭霸占大东村集体财产。当然总统奥巴马和这个村一点关系都没有,这个农民仅仅只是用奥巴马的名义来吸引网名的注意。

他们网络转移的目的是为了给当地政府施压并促使当地政府妥协。同时,他们希望媒体报导他们的请求并让更高层政府知道他们村庄里发生了什么事情。他们相信如果更高层政府知道了事情的经过,就会让当地政府妥协。

公共利益和网络转移

最后一种网络转移是为了捕捉超越个人和共同利益的公共利益。

著名的儿童免费午餐项目就是一个例子。

这个项目的创始人,邓飞,是凤凰周刊的一名记者。这个项目自2011年4月2日开始实施。一共有500名记者和数家报刊杂志介入,项目呼吁每个人捐款3元人民币(0.5美元)给学生。这个项目现在有成千上万的人和公司支持。有些人甚至每个月都会捐款。

截止2013年1月18日,捐款达到人民币43,014,006.82(美元)。他们给学生提供了1,737,227份午餐。因为这个项目对捐款和花费完全透明,管理团队赢得了捐款人的信赖。许多人和公司,包括政府官员,都十分愿意捐款给学生。这个项目非常的成功。

这个项目甚至影响了政府的政策。2011年10月26日,中国国务院开始实施农村义务教育学生营养改善项目。中国中央政府将每年提供160亿(美元2亿5千8百万)为2千6百万少数民族和贫困家庭的孩子提供午饭。

然而,这个项目组认为国务院每年提供的资金不够。他们还在继续儿童免费午餐项目。他们认为政府行动和公民行动并不矛盾。多数学生都需要帮助。今天,这个项目有着很大的影响力并在中国声誉颇高。

结论

总体而言,网络转移有三个目标,即个人利益,共同利益和集体利益,并且在今天越来越普遍。随着网络的建设和社会问题的增多,我认为越来越多的人将会利用网络来实现自己的目的。

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//CGCS visiting scholar Mengshan Ren examines social mobilization on the Internet in China.

The internet is the most vigorous and popular media in contemporary China. Compared to other media, such as daily newspapers, magazines, TV and radio, the Internet attracts less censorship. With more and more people using smart phones, including the lower strata of society, the internet has more influence than ever.

Individuals in China have used the Internet to mobilize social power and exert pressure on local governments or companies. In the sociological sense, certain groups doing this could be labeled a “social movement.” However, in China, they do not have all the characteristics of a typical social movement. Cases in recent years have shown the different aims of online mobilization, which  I divide into three styles: individual interest, collective interest and public interest.  Here are examples of the different styles and an analysis.

Individual interest and online mobilization

On March 2007, a post spread on the internet about “nail houses,” old buildings that real-estate companies seek to demolish. One couple, Pin Wu and her husband Wu Yang were not satisfied with the compensation they were offered for the destruction of their building. As the following image shows, their apartment building was left standing alone as their neighbors accepted compensation from the local government and real estate company.

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The couple posted pictures on the Internet and protested. Wu Yang flew a national flag on their building, and Pin Wu held the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, while the protest was covered by the media. The performance had a dramatic effect.

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These pictures spread quickly through the internet and “Netizens” expressed anger at the demolition of the building. Many people criticized the local government and the real estate company. These comments and coverage put huge pressure on the local government and the real estate company and ultimately the couple succeeded in their mobilization. In order to acquire and maximize their interest, they utilized the internet to mobilize social force to benefit their negotiations with the real estate company.

Collective interest and online mobilization

“Collective interest” in China is the interest of multiple individuals. For example, the people in one factory or one village are in a “collective organization.” The collective interest can also be described as a “community,” but normally a community is not organized. All the peasants live in the same village from generation to generation and maintain the same collective land. The ownership of the  land belongs to the collective, which is the village community. The peasants have a land-lease contract with the village committee, which is the autonomous government body. For most purposes, the ownership of the land belongs to the peasants.

With developing urbanization, local governments need more and more land for factories and real estate companies, so the land leased by the peasants was taken back by the village committee, under the direction of local government, and sold to the factories or real estate companies at high prices. The compensation given to peasants was much lower than the revenue to the village committee and therefore the peasants began to argue for more compensation.

When the interests of the peasants is inconsistent with the interests of local government, it can result in “Shangfang,” which means the peasants attempt to claim their rights by bypassing the local government, going to the higher authorities such as the provincial or central government. However, the village committees blocked the petition to a higher government authority in every possible way.

In recent years, many peasants have utilized the internet to claim their rights and interests. They posted the petition on BBS and in comments on top websites, such as Sina.com, Qq.com, Netease.com, and Xinhuanet.com. Additionally, they asked relatives working in the city to write articles and post them online.  Occasionally, they attracted attention using unorthodox public-relations tactics.

For example, the villages in Dadong Village, Luolong District, Luoyang City in Henan Province, wrote “A Letter to Obama From the Chinese Peasants.”  The letter claimed that Dongyue Han, who was the director of Dadong Village committee, and his family profited from the collective property.  Of course, President Obama had no relation to this village, but the peasants used Obama to attract the netizens’ interest.

The aim of the online mobilization was to pressure the local government into forced compromise. At the same time, they hoped the media would attract the attention of the higher government, who would then command the local government to compromise.

Public interest and online mobilization

Other forms of online mobilization aim to the capture public interest beyond personal and collective aims.

The successful Free Lunch for Children Program, which aids students suffering from hunger, is an example. The aim of this program is to raise money for the students’ lunch at elementary schools in poor regions in China, such as Guizhou, Sichuan, Guangxi, and Xinjiang, .

The founder of this project Fei Deng, a journalist at Phoenix Weekly, launched the program on April 2, 2011. There were 500 journalists and dozens of newspapers and magazines  advocating that everyone donate ¥3($0.5) for the students. This program is now supported by thousands of people and corporations.

By Jan. 18, 2013, the total donations to the program reached¥43,014,006.82 ($6,937,742) and provided 1,737,227 free lunches for students. Because the program was totally and wholly transparent about the donations and expenses, the management team won the trust of donors and many individuals and corporations, including some officials, who have been willing to donate to the students, leading it to become a successful program

The program even influenced the policy of the state. On October 26, 2011, the State Council of China decided to start the implementation of a rural compulsory education students’ nutrition improvement program. The central government of China pledged to provide ¥16 billion ($258,000,000) annually as subsidies for meals for 26 million students in minority and poor counties.

Conclusion

With continued development of the Internet, more will utilize it for social mobilization for individual, collective and public interest goals.

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