China was home to 162 million netizens as of June last year, just behind the United States. And there were some 130 bulletin boards, giving China the most Internet forums of any country, according to the yearly bluebook on social development, published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Thursday.
Meanwhile, blogging has also become an important channel for people to voice their opinions about important events. Some 50 million people nationwide frequently read blogs, according to the bluebook.
That 51 percent of netizens are under the age of 25, and 70 percent are under the age of 30 means young people are perhaps the most active when it comes to expressing their opinions on various issues. The flip side is that their opinions tend to be immoderate, and some even go to extremes by hurling violent verbal attacks at those who hold different opinions.
There is little question that the Internet will have an immeasurable impact on the building of the country’s democracy and the strengthening of the rule of law over the long term. It has already become an important tool for checking the abuse of power and other irregularities. [Full Text]