According to an article on the WeChat public account, “Chang’an Street Governor” by the Beijing Daily, a survey conducted by the “People’s Forum” magazine several years ago showed that about 70 percent of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials experienced cyberphobia. They were anxious and uneasy due to concerns about work-related mistakes or negative incidents being exposed, which could affect their future careers. Those who were most worried were propaganda officials and top leaders responsible for public opinion.
The article states that, with the advent of the era of mobile communication, this fear has only increased. From leaders in various organizations to grassroots employees, they fear public opinion, scrutiny, controversy, and accountability. Rather than facing the risks of the spotlight, they prefer to maintain a low profile and navigate their way through in silence.
As a result, CCP officials who are fearful and apprehensive about online public opinion often find themselves at a loss, leading to the proliferation of chaotic situations.
The article provides examples of different reactions by officials. Some try to avoid the situation altogether, adopting an ostrich-like attitude out of fear of being implicated. Others respond slowly, missing the opportunity to handle crises in a timely manner. Some officials adopt a wait-and-see approach, hoping that time will eventually diminish the intensity of the issue. There are those who give inconsistent information, creating confusion and contradictory statements. Some officials rigidly stick to prepared statements without engaging in meaningful communication with the public. Others deliberately conceal their mistakes, preferring to hide or distort information.
Furthermore, officials tend to respond selectively to public concerns. They avoid addressing the core issues and instead focus on trivial matters or on offering empty words.
Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), July 4, 2023