China Media Project translates an article by Gao Xinmin (高新民) in the official CCP journal Study Times about the impact of new media on China’s politics:
For example, the Internet has already become a channel by which the people express their own interests and demands, a platform for participation and discussion of state affairs. The presents a challenge to traditional modes of communication. In traditional communication the organs of the Party-state were the principal channel, and the flow was from top to bottom in a one-dimensional fashion, with the decisions at higher levels transmitted down layer after layer . . . But Internet communication means that any ordinary Party member or member of the public can communicate their own opinions and views at any time and in any place . . . Channels of communication for the people have been expanded to an unprecedented extent. The times demand forms of communication that are two-dimensional, combining top to bottom and bottom to top, a mechanism of mutual consultation. And the Internet provide the best means for this.
We can also see that the Internet demands much more in terms of the conduct and character of our leaders. Many factual instances of mass incidents are pushed by waves of public opinion online, and in many cases careless remarks from leaders precipitate a backlash of public opinion. The question of how to deal with online public opinion, and the complex question of how to deal with media is a comprehensive test of the human rights consciousness, democratic consciousness, rule of law consciousness and work ability of our leaders.
However, new media also present new opportunities for Party building.