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'Anti-graft' fight is hottest online topic

2014-12-26 09:02 China Daily Web Editor: Si Huan

The fight against corruption has become one of the hottest online topics this year in China, according to reports released on Thursday by several cyberspace opinion research centers.

Anti-graft campaigns conducted by disciplinary authorities have been speeded up since the start of the year.

These have triggered widespread public attention and demonstrated the leadership's determination to build an anti-corruption system, according to a report from the Internet Media Reseach Center.

Information on trials involving officials who have been investigated — and their sentences — frequently stirs heated discussion on the Internet, said Hua Qing, deputy director of the center.

Zhu Huaxin, secretary-general of the Department of Public Opinion Monitoring on people. com.cn, said the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection's website has played a key role in pushing the anti-graft issue online.

"The commission has taken the initiative to inspect officials and post related information publicly since its website opened in September 2013," Zhu said.

Zhu and his team select key issues from micro blog platforms, online forums and mainstream media every day.

Major cases involving corrupt officials, such as former energy chief Liu Tienan, drew instant public attention, and news of his sentence went viral online, according to a report by Zhu's team.

Earlier this month, Liu, 60, was sentenced to life imprisonment for bribery by a court in Hebei province.

It found him guilty of receiving bribes worth 35.5 million yuan ($5.8 million) between 2002 and 2012, when he was a department chief and later vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, the nation's top economic planner.

After the case of Zhou Yongkang, former top security chief, was exposed on July 30, discussion appeared on 1.33 million micro blogs related to it, the report said.

Li Weining, an analyst at the Internet Information Research Institute at Communication University of China, said the anti-graft campaign and related news were the hottest items online this year.

The institute, which has more than 100 employees and was established in 2008, monitors website homepages, WeChat, micro blogs and smartphone apps every day and then places popular topics on a database.

"We can collect at least 5,000 topics a year, and we'll select and analyze the hotter ones from among them," Li said.

Shen Yang, an analyst and professor at Tsinghua University who specializes in communications, welcomed the government publishing information on anti-graft initiatives, saying that official disclosures can reduce rumors.

"In other words, if we can fight against corruption effectively in reality, online reports or tipoffs will be reduced," Shen said, suggesting that disciplinary authorities handling graft cases verify online reports quickly.

In this way, Internet users will also learn self-discipline in posting online, he added.

Anti-terrorism measures, the rule of law and cybersecurity have also been hot issues this year, sparking heated online discussion.

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