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Officials should be in awe of ‘moral whip’
Global Times | September 01, 2012 00:25
By Global Times
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Another scandal has emerged on the Internet. According to the pressure group Greenpeace, some US researchers fed genetically engineered rice, or Golden Rice, to 72 primary school pupils in Hengyang, Hunan Province. 

Neither the US nor authorities in Hengyang made any comment on the reports. But few in China seem to be willing to challenge the authenticity of the news.

That's because it fits well with the current setting. Taking advantage of loose official monitoring and a badly informed public, some foreign adventurers exploit areas that are forbidden in their own countries.

China's Ministry of Agriculture reportedly ordered a halt to the project several years ago, but it nevertheless managed to go ahead.

Despite widespread anger, calls for an investigation and demands for an explanation, people have few alternatives and have to accept it in this country, where inequality persists.

Scandals have cropped up almost every day during the past week thanks to the Internet. To name but a few, a local official was spotted smiling at the scene of a major traffic accident in Shaanxi where dozens were killed and another official allegedly beat an air steward in an argument about where he could place his luggage.

Officials, who were pushed into the public eye in these scandals, are the grey elements of Chinese society. But they are by no means the official representatives of the authorities.

Public opinion has been harsh, as there has been a frenzy of scandals concerning officials. China has undoubtedly been the most active in its efforts to dig up the dirt.

Such efforts mark the departure of public opinion in China from its previous stereotype of being uniform and stiff. More importantly, people expect a better country and their aspirations are being voiced on the Web and are taking root.

Internet users appear less tolerant. It may be unfair to accuse them of being hypocrites as those aspirations are real.

The Internet serves as a "moral whip." The pain is real. More scandals will be uncovered through the Web.

Officials and those in power should be in awe of the Internet and public opinion. The Web strikes a balance between the elites and the general public. It opposes peremptoriness and high-handedness.

Public scrutiny has been strengthened and is becoming more efficient as everybody has a loudspeaker when using tools like Weibo. The powerful and the rich should behave.

An active, critical and orderly Internet community is crucial for the continued development in the country.

 


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