How Do China's Leaders View Social Media?

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Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Huffington Post's Peter Goodman discusses how China's leaders view social media with Jon Erlichman on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)

China and china's leader's view on social media?

There's a lot of complexity to this question.

On the one hand, what we in america tend to think of is that social media is potentially a threat to the communist party.

It's a new channel for free expression, a wafer lots of people outside of traditionally controlled chinese channels to communicate.

On the other hand, it is well controlled.

The large chinese internet portals that have various social media services have thousands of sensors who in real time are reading posts.

The less obvious side of the story is that the leadership in beijing really benefits tremendously from having an unfiltered flow of information from below, from provinces, ordinary people, places where corruption is happening, where there are protests festering.

Instead of having to rely on provincial level and county level and municipal level officials, to give them a straight story, they can get it unfiltered from the public.

That's very compelling and useful.

I got the sense from a piece you wrote that the government basically has a couple of options, to move faster on reforms, or to do the opposite and try to slow things down even more.

What do you think is the likely option they go with?

Reform, it's one of those words that -- it sort of depends on who the speaker is, in terms of the content.

China is going to change.

The leadership in china is engaged in a debate over the future.

There is a true political process.

It may not be our political process.

There are factions, competing interests.

There is a real debate over how to keep the growth going.

Everybody wants to keep a basic level of economic growth going because you have millions of peasants streaming into cities from the countryside who need employment.

The question is, what kind of growth is required?

How do you alter growth such that inequality -- levels of economic inequality in china are greater than they were 60 some odd years ago when the communist party took power.

Party historians get they are in potentially dangerous territory.

There is tremendous unhappiness from the top to the bottom over pollution, tremendous smog choking all major chinese cities, water pollution, food safety scandals, and corruption.

How do you keep the growth going while eradicating some of the problems?

We heard dick costolo saying that the goal of that company is to reach every person on the planet.

As far as the chinese market is concerned and twitter possibility to be there, especially when people view it more as a newsfeed delivering more news faster than some of the other social media platforms , what do you think happens on that front?

I don't think it happens anytime soon, if ever.

China has twitter, but it's chinese twitter.

If for no other reason than market competitiveness reasons, china has got its own internet market locked up here and people are highly engaged.

There are profitable but cutthroat businesses, private sector and state owned enterprises.

Twitter is not only a massive mode of communication with the outside world that is beyond the control of the party, it's also a competitor of some very well- connected businesses in china.

Don't look for that to happen anytime soon.

We appreciated.

Peter goodman joining us from

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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