Central Chinese police apologize for threatening netizen
Police in a central Chinese city has apologized for its threatening remarks directed at a complaining netizen that caused a public backlash, Xinhua reported.
The individual who wrote the remark has been removed from his post, said Liang Shizhong, a spokesman for the Public Security Bureau of Nanyang City in central Henan Province.
The netizen, "Public-Spirited Citizen," had complained about overly zealous traffic regulation that targeted motorcycles in Nanyang and suggested all motorcycles avoid certain roads or run red lights to elude traffic police.
The Nanyang Public Security Bureau replied to the post by saying the suggestion ran completely counter to the "tidal wave" of fighting for safer roads and threatened to monitor future acts of the netizen, as well as to take action against the "seditious words."
That sparked a mass of angry responses from netizens who were disturbed by the police's overt threats.
"It's indeed troubling that they treated a normal complaint on a traffic issue as a dangerous enemy," said the netizen "Sightseeing Group."
Liang said security bureau has taken notice of the online criticism and feels deeply sorry.
"We must reiterate that we welcome online supervision and suggestions, and we must thank all the netizens who have been doing so," Liang said.
Cyberspace in recent years has become an efficient platform for officials to hear public opinion on controversial issues, but also a powder keg for those who have been slow to adapt to the Internet era.
Last month, an official in the eastern city of Changzhou made himself a national laughing stock after arranging a one-night stand with a married woman via his microblog, which he mistakenly believed to be a private messenger service.
Experts said the use of menacing words by the police in Nanyang is just another example of how inept online activity can lead to a public relations fiasco for government departments.
"That police resorted to threats over some angry words should definitely be a lesson for Nanyang's police, who must learn the right way to communicate with the public," said Shi Pu, a professor at Henan University of Economics and Law.
Wang Yang, secretary of the Communist Party of China of Guangdong Province, said Monday that officials should humbly listen to netizens and allow them to "go mad."
"Officials are public figures, and we should learn to respect the variety of online voices, including reproaches," Wang said.