Social Media Development and Implication on eGovernance in China

Social Media Development and Implication on eGovernance in China

Wang Boyong (Yantai Municipality, China) and Wang Shaoyu (Yantai Municipality, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6236-0.ch019
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Abstract

The rapid development of social media in China brings both challenges and opportunities for China's eGovernance construction. This chapter seeks to research the information society construction in China during the 12th 5-year plan period (2011-2015), especially the efforts of involving citizens in participating in the decision-making process, whilst also exploring the interlinks between the fast development of social media and the ever-changing government services. The chapter summarizes the strengths and weaknesses in the practice of public participation and finds that rapid development of information technology cannot guarantee that eParticipation will be fully effective, and measures and policy should be taken to change the situation. China has made considerable progress in social media development, but more efforts are needed from the government to further engage its citizens in the decision-making process.
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Introduction: China’S Informatization Process And E-Governance

With more than 30 years of economic boom and social change, China has made considerable progress in its efforts to build up an information society that includes e-Governance. The development of modern ICT technology, the introduction of social media and an improved IT infrastructure have contributed largely to economic success, whilst simultaneously they have helped to improve the efficiency of government administration. The Chinese society is increasingly dependent on and benefits from the development of its IT industry and the efficiencies resulting from the use of ICT. Assisted by the progress made in the development of the information technology industry, China’s e-Governance and consequently e-Participation level also became an important element of China’s economic success.

China attaches high importance to informatization work and elevating informatization to the height of a national strategy. In China, the word ‘informatization’ is similar to ‘industrialization’ and means the application of ICT in traditional industries or the use of ICT to improve the traditional industries. In the Report of the 16th National Congress of CPC, it was specifically pointed out that “Informatization is a logical choice for China to speed up industrializations and modernization”. It was proposed to “persist in industrialization driven by informatization and informatization promoted by industrialization” and takes a new road towards industrialization. It was further pointed out in the Strategy on the National Informatization Development from 2006 to 2020 that “Greatly pushing forward informatization is a strategic measure which covers the overall situation of China’s modernization drive, as well as the urgent need and logical choice for implementing the scientific view of development, building a well-off society in an all-round way, establishing a socialist harmonious society and building an innovation-oriented country”. It was also proposed that China should achieve its strategic informatization goals before 2020. These goals include: a comprehensive information infrastructure is basically established, the ability of independent information technology innovations is notably strengthened, the structure of the information industry is fully optimized, the level of national information security assurance is greatly improved, notable achievements in informatization in the national economy and society are achieved, a new development model of industrialization is preliminarily established, the institutional environment and policy system for national informatization development are basically improved, citizens’ ability to apply information technology is notably improved and a firm foundation is laid for China to enter an information society.

As 2013 MIIT Work Statement mentioned, (Wang&Kong,2013) the development plan is rather macro level and lacks qualitative indicators. However, it clearly sets out the goal that China is aiming to build up an information society that conforms to the economic development level. And above all, it is an “informatization plan” that meets the increasing requirements of the industry and modern government.

Guided by its national strategy and national informatization development strategy, China has done a great deal of work in informatization building. The development of the environment for informatization has been improved, comprehensive information infrastructure building has been fully conducted, and the ability of independent innovations in information technology has been gradually strengthened. While the information industry continued to grow fast, its structure has been optimized. The level of assurance for national information security is improved further, while the ability to apply information technology is raised significantly. Great achievements have been made in informatization in the national economy and in all social fields. E-commerce is developing well: the scale of e-commerce increased 21.3% in 2013 compare with last year, reached 9,900 billion RMB. (http://www.cnii.com.cn/wlkb/rmydb/content/2014-01/20/content_1292916.htm)

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