Since modern times, China has made several serious mistakes when judging the national situation. The problem remains today.
This debate intensifies again concerning China's current status quo. With limited official intervention, cyberspace has displayed dynamism and diversity.
A brand new discourse system, with a strong anti-traditional bent, has emerged online, filling a gap left by traditional media.
With time, the information transmitted has shown strong tendencies toward certain values.
The lack of access to all information, a long-term factor in Chinese society, has been carried into the cyber world, and consequently enlarged given the absence of regulation.
The perception projected by Internet opinions is quite far from the real situation.
For example, online opinion holds that grassroots livelihoods are a mess in China.
In addition, it states that reform has come to a standstill and public anger has boiled over to the extent that China could descend into chaos any time.
But when one logs off the Internet and looks at the real world, one will find China is far from being that bad. The economy is growing and the public is positive about the future. In no way does this appear to be a pessimistic society.
Reform, development and stability are three crucial elements of China today. The public is longing for them to be combined.
Cyberspace has become a place for the public to vent negative feelings. In a way, it has been mistaken as representing the mainstream feeling of the country.
The Internet was once hailed for its openness but it is now showing increasing restrictions.
People sharing similar feelings gather online and strengthen the values that they uphold. The dark side of society has thus been amplified. Worse, online opinion has little tolerance of dissent. The strong censure of minority opinion has become a form of totalitarianism.
Public opinion and even policy-making have been subject to the influence of cyber opinion. Society needs to have an objective view toward views expressed online.
This is not to deny the progress brought by Internet in advancing freedom of speech. But the disorder and misperceptions of the cyber world need to be confronted.