From China Digital Space
Portmaneau of "Internet" (wǎngluò 网络) and "citizen" (gōngmín 公民); Internet user, especially one who actively voices their opinion online.
While the English term "netizen," coined in 1984, is "now seen as insufferable dorky in the West," its Mandarin equivalent is firmly lodged into the language. Chinese Internet users still refer to themselves as netizens, as does the media.
Netizens are often talked about in the context of online commentary and other active or productive uses of the Internet, such as when they react to perceived injustice:
Lingxupuzi (@凌虚铺子): The public shaming in Langzhong, Sichuan of eight migrant workers who protested for lost wages, surrounded by police in full riot gear, has stirred the collective wrath of netizens, including public intellectuals, fifty centers, and volunteer fifty centers. Where's the justice in parading them in a Cultural Revolution-style denunciation? Where's the humanity? Who does it really humiliate? From the threat of arresting reporters for asking questions of delegates at the Two Sessions to this, the ignorance and hubris of power are on full display! (March 18, 2016)
As Zhihu user @WangZhanye explains, "Our dynasty's netizens are always either indignant or impassioned" (我朝的网民总是处于愤怒和感动两种状态里).