Sunday, April 20, 2014
'Republic of rumors' will shake nation
Global Times | March 27, 2012 19:53
By Global Times
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Recently some rumors have been vigorously spreading on the Internet, a few of which even indulge in ludicrous speculations about what has been happening in Zhongnanhai and on Chang'an Avenue, and interfere with normal public opinions. Chinese society needs to be alert to it, rather than let rumors run riot.

It's true that in China, official information may fail to satisfy the public's demands at times, which leaves leeway for rumors to circulate. The clearer official information is, the better public concerns can be addressed, and the less chance rumors can be transmitted.

But as to the recent rumors, some are natural social responses whereas others have spread in unusual ways. Official transparency can help offset some rumors, but at the same time society should also have an ethical and rational bottom line against the rumors.

At the moment, some are calling off the bottom line, and openly playing up the "justice" of these rumors. They hold that the rumors can help bring out the truth and even prompt reforms.

This is not practical. Caution is often very important on some significant issues.

Sometimes rapidly publishing information may be even more risky than collectively releasing it after thorough investigation. There are many elements that may lead to such risks, including misinterpretations of incomplete information.

It takes time to recognize some important issues and establish a social consensus.

Solving the problems in a correct and proper way also helps guide the society. Sometimes information release has to be slowed down a bit.

Over these past years, China has made progress in enhancing transparency in the release of official information, which is one of the most complex areas of reform.

Such efforts should be continued, but tolerance is still needed over delayed information release in some pivotal fields. Coordination and unity between these two aspects is critical to the nation heading forward.

The radical theory that rumors are reasonable denies China's reality. It seeks to build another world outside the existing political framework, and undermines the authority of the existing system. If rumors are reasonable, they can become cheap tools to disassemble the political unity of China.

Let's join hands to safeguard China's progress and solidarity. We all live in this country, and clearly know both the necessity of reform and the difficult situation of this nation. But after all, China should not be a "republic of rumors."

The article is an editorial published in the Chinese edition of the Global Times Monday.

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