While new media such as Weibo (a Twitter clone), Weixin (WeChat in English) go from strength to strength, official government websites have few visitors and little influence, according the China Information Industry Association and the State Information Centre.
The research was based on about 100 central and provincial government websites and more than 400 at the city level.
Launched in 1999, the Government Online Project has managed to connect all ministerial departments and provincial governments, 99 percent of city and 85 percent of county governments, allowing the public to acquire information and procure government services via the Internet.
However, some local governments do not publicize information in a timely manner and even keep silent on some issues.
Some websites do not release important information, while the released information is often not important. The timeliness of information release needs improvement, said Lei Qiang of the National Academy of Governance.
Professor Shi Cengzhi at Peking University said government should integrate their websites with Weibo and Weixin and respond to the public appropriately and quickly.
The State Council issued a circular in October, promising to improve information transparency and better respond to the people’s concerns.
Information should be active, timely, comprehensive and accurate, said the circular, describing transparency as an important measure of government credibility, safeguarding the people’s rights to know, participate in and supervise government.