By Li Lianxing
China Daily publishes the e-mail addresses of its reporters along with their articles, which means I receive plenty of feedback, criticism and suggestions on the various issues I write about.
In most cases, I receive just a few comments, but one cover story I wrote last year on African conservation and China has prompted a continuous supply of e-mails, demonstrating the interest readers have in this topic.
Many of them are from outside China, saying that I should tell the Chinese people what is happening in Africa and raise their awareness, so as to prevent poaching here.
But if one can read Chinese and examine Chinese social media, one will see that public awareness and education on wildlife conservation has greatly improved, largely thanks to online social media.
Last week, the Tanzanian government detained three Chinese suspects for illegally possessing a huge haul of 706 elephants tusks in their residence in Dar es Salaam. Tourism Minister Khamis Kagasheki said, "It means 353 elephants were killed to get all those tusks."
That was the front page and headline news for all major media in Tanzania, and African people again became angry about the poaching and smuggling. But this time, Chinese people are getting even angrier, especially with their compatriots living and working in Africa.
"I really have no idea what they are thinking about, and the image of the Chinese community is being ruined by such people,"wrote one Tanzania-based Chinese businessman on Sina Weibo, China.s version of Twitter.
Since the microblog became popular in China in 2009, it has turned into a significant platform for public discussion on many social issues, as well as a means of disseminating information. More....