Opinion sphere should reach beyond negative news

By Shan Renping Source:Global Times Published: 2013-12-30 0:08:01

Five new rail lines came into service Saturday, linking southern cities such as Xiamen and Shenzhen, Liuzhou and Nanning, and Qinzhou and Fangchenggang. Such news would have previously drawn tremendous attention in China, or in any other country. But currently, the realm of public seems indifferent toward these new rail links.

Public opinion in China is dominated by cynics and talkers, rather than pragmatic doers. If you follow debate on the Internet every day, you might believe China is filled with beaten petitioners, blackmailed "good Samaritans," corrupt officials, and silly professors. News like the opening of five new rail lines within a single day are drowned in debate over all kinds of social controversies.

In the realm of public opinion, civil livelihood has been put in confrontation against national development strategy. New rail lines are completely ignored, while incidents like street vendor getting fined are deemed as truly mirroring the situation of social justice.

No one questions the voices of those cynics. Social fairness is seen as the most urgent priority. And while injustice is most prominent at the grass-roots level, public opinion naturally follows incidents like conflicts between street vendors and urban management officers.

Nevertheless, it is not difficult to find that the big picture of the nation is much richer than the snapshot presented online. Opening five new rail links within one day is a landmark event in China's southern railway network, which exerts a deep and profound impact on civil livelihood.

The Internet greatly satisfies the public's desire for negative and bizarre information. This explains why news portals are reluctant to highlight things like the new rail lines. But whenever an accident takes place on the railway, it will instantly make headlines online and stir up a carnival of criticism. This is the true ecology of Chinese public opinion at the moment. We have no choice but to get used to it.

We should seize the core of the current public opinion debate. There is nothing wrong in following online topics and discussions, but in real life, we still have to remain pragmatic and cool-headed. As citizens of a big power, our interests should not just focus on trivial, everyday topics.

We constantly talk about "keeping the nation in mind, and the world in view." This is probably too high a standard for ordinary people. But generally, we should have a broader perspective. We should care about whether Chinese rail tracks should be faster, while talking about whether standing-room-only train tickets should be sold at half price. This will make us more competitive in boosting our own development.

Posted in: Observer

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