Consumer price index (CPI), housing, and health care are some of the themes that attracted most public attention in China’s latest experiment of mobile democracy. Chinese mobile users have been able to communicate with some political representatives during the annual parliament session using a program called Fetion - a low-price mobile phone interactive service introduced by China Mobile.
Even better! “Ask the Premier” – a joint-project between Xinhuanet.com (the official Chinese news agency) and China Mobile made available to more than 100 million mobile phone users – has collected over 250,000 short messages. In the words of the project’s initiators “Chinese mobile users are thus encouraged to orderly participate in politics”. In the meantime, NGOs all over the world are jumping on the “Olympic opportunity” to portray China as a repressive State where freedom of speech is scorned and democracy a distant dream. In fact, a recent survey by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences shows that today’s China doesn’t suffer a lack of opinions or ideas, but the channels for the people to express them.
Maybe the historical inclusion of “safeguarding the people’s right to expression” in the report to the Party Congress is a sign of changing times!