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Chinese Premier to go online to meet massive netizen questions

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is scheduled to chat with Internet surfers on 3pm today at two state news portals.

Two hours after the news was broadcast, more than 8,000 people had put forward their questions, ranging from employment, medicare, to almost everything.

The two portals, the central government Website (www.gov.cn) and Xinhua News Agency Website (www.xinhuanet.com), will jointly interview Premier Wen, which will be live shown in both texts and videos.

This will be the first online chat of Premier Wen with the public, following a brief online Q&A by President Hu Jintao in June last year.

The rising number of Chinese online population has dramatically change the political landscape of the country. President Hu and Premier Wen have said that they personally spend some time in logging onto the Internet to know the public concerns.

In January 2007, Hu, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, even urged senior officials in a lecture attended by members of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, "to improve their Internet literacy and use the Internet well so as to improve the art of leadership".

According to the China Internet Network Information Center, the number of Chinese netizens by January surpassed 300 million, making up 23.8 percent of the population, which ranked the first in the world.

NETIZEN QUESTIONS

While many welcomed Premier Wen's upcoming chat with the public, a great deal of others expressed their complaints, warning and suggestions for government work at the two portals.

A netizen complained the tuition fee of roughly 300 yuan (US$44) in local primary schools, which was against the state policy of free nine-year compulsory education. He also grumbled high electricity rates in rural areas, which left rural residents unable to afford daily use of home appliances even after purchasing them.

One person criticized soaring real estate prices in recent years and asked why the macro economic policies did not work for curbing the unreasonable price hike.

One asked for more policies favorable to private business owners and effective to protect their interests.

Another asked Wen whether the government will consider introducing more pro-active policies for attracting overseas talents against the backdrop of the economic sluggishness in many developed economies.

The Website advises that each question should be no more than 100 Chinese characters to ensure smooth on-line flow.

Netizens have also proffered tens of thousands of questions and advices for Wen at several Chinese news portals, which organized special bulletins ahead of the legislature and the top advisory body's annual sessions.



 

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