Feeds

China's e-petitioners crash government site on first day

Chinternet suspects Beijing has its fingers in its ears

The essential guide to IT transformation

China’s attempts to drag its centuries old petitioning system into the 21st century left Beijing rather red-faced on Monday after a web site designed for the purpose unceremoniously crashed on its first day.

The government agency which deals with petitions – the State Bureau for Letters and Calls – was subject to widespread derision on the Chinternet after the outage yesterday.

Although no official explanation was given for the crash, weibo users suspected it was due to the high number of petitioners trying to air their grievances with the government, according to Wall Street Journal.

Other social media users apparently claimed the outage shows how little Beijing actually cares about the problems of ordinary citizens.

It’s easy to be cynical in China and think that the incident was deliberate, especially, as TechInAsia pointed out, because third party anti-corruption sites have been shuttered in the past by Beijing in a clumsy attempt to muzzle criticism of the government.

However, the Party is certainly well enough versed in the ways of social media to have predicted the huge online furore resulting from an outage.

It also plays badly for new president Xi Jinping, who has made rooting out corruption in the Communist Party one of his main campaigns since coming to power.

A more realistic bet, then, is that the government simply underestimated the sheer number of petitioners – a similar mistake to that made by the British government when it launched its e-petitions site in 2011.

Petitioning has been a custom in China for centuries, dating back to the days when aggrieved folk would travel to the capital in an attempt to have their beef heard by the emperor.

However, while the White House has to respond to any petition with over 100,000 signatures, for example, there are question marks over whether the complaints of China’s citizens ever have the desired effect. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.