The Shenzhen Municipal Government soon will open an official microblog to give residents and visitors greater access to city news and information.
“A plan for the official microblog has been submitted to city leaders,” said Gao Dawei, an Internet official with the municipal publicity department.
Gao said the official microblog will serve as a virtual press hall for the city.
“Visitors will see announcements and service information for various government departments,” he said.
Despite the wild popularity of microblogs in China, local governments have been slow to open their own.
“Officials are afraid of saying anything wrong on microblogs. On a microblog, even one wrong word could bring a hail of criticism,” said a Shenzhen government official who preferred to remain anonymous.
Earlier this month, the Futian District Government came under fire for hiring ghostwriters to give favorable reviews of city services in a microblog post.
Many Shenzhen government departments have official microblogs, but most of them remain inactive.
“A lot of political microblogs in China died out very soon because they had few ‘followers’ or posts, and turned a deaf ear to people’s criticism,” said Zhang Zhi’an, associate professor of Sun Yat-sen University’s communication and design college. “To avoid that situation, political microblogs should be interactive and informative,” Zhang said.
Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou all opened official government microblogs.