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The story of Qi Shi Ma: Online discussion and community engagement in urban China
Unformatted Document Text:  - 14 - thread demanded the public be rational: “Don’t be so emotional and angry only because the driver was from a rich family.” The other one pointed out the disagreement in its headline and explained that the public’s anger was due to the driver’s arrogant behavior and police’s unjust investigation. Citizens felt unsafe and insecure if the rich class was always unequally treated with privilege. However, there were no more continuous arguments and the debate ended. Discussion The findings suggested that the online forum provided netizens with certain opportunities of expression. Compared with the local newspaper, the online forum showed considerable advantages. More information was disseminated, and in a more timely way, and more opinions were expressed. More voices of more people from more diverse social backgrounds were heard. First of all, the online forum was the platform for unlimited amounts of information. Compared with only 16 stories in the newspaper, of which the majority were government news releases, on the forum 300 threads were disseminated. Forum users posted the accident news earlier than the newspaper could do and immediately formed questions about the police report of the car’s speed. Users posted photos they took at the scene of the accident. The memorial ceremony of the victim was disclosed only online. In addition, users forwarded intensive news coverage, which was missing from Du Shi Kuai Bao, from other regional, national and international media. These findings were coherent with optimistic ideas of the Internet’s power of spreading information (Bowen, 1996; Cheong &Gong, 2010; Grossman,1995; Jones, 1997; McChesney, 2000; Wriston, 1992). Compared with the local newspaper, the forum presented more pieces in the puzzle of Online discussion and community engagement in urban China

Authors: Liu, Zhengjia.
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- 14 -
thread demanded the public be rational: “Don’t be so emotional and angry only because 
the driver was from a rich family.” The other one pointed out the disagreement in its 
headline and explained that the public’s anger was due to the driver’s arrogant behavior 
and police’s unjust investigation. Citizens felt unsafe and insecure if the rich class was 
always unequally treated with privilege. However, there were no more continuous 
arguments and the debate ended. 
The findings suggested that the online forum provided netizens with certain 
opportunities of expression. Compared with the local newspaper, the online forum 
showed considerable advantages. More information was disseminated, and in a more 
timely way, and more opinions were expressed. More voices of more people from more 
diverse  social backgrounds were heard. 
First of all, the online forum was the platform for unlimited amounts of 
information. Compared with only 16 stories in the newspaper, of which the majority were 
government news releases, on the forum 300 threads were disseminated. Forum users 
posted the accident news earlier than the newspaper could do and immediately formed 
questions about the police report of the car’s speed. Users posted photos they took at the 
scene of the accident. The memorial ceremony of the victim was disclosed only online. In 
addition, users forwarded intensive news coverage, which was missing from Du Shi Kuai 
Bao, from other regional, national and international media. These findings were coherent 
with optimistic ideas of the Internet’s power of spreading information (Bowen, 1996; 
Cheong &Gong, 2010; Grossman,1995; Jones, 1997; McChesney, 2000; Wriston, 1992). 
Compared with the local newspaper, the forum presented more pieces in the puzzle of 
Online discussion and community engagement in urban China

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