Despite ban, WikiLeaks one of most popular terms in China

Chinese have rated `WikiLeaks` and `micro blog` as hottest web terms of 2010.

Beijing: Access to WikiLeaks might be blocked in China, but the term along with `micro blog` is one of the most popular among the country`s 420 million Internet users, who voted in "deluge" to rate the two as the hottest web terms of 2010.

Micro blog made its way to the top of China`s 10 Hottest Internet Terms in 2010 as micro-blogging became part of the lives of millions of more Chinese "netizens", state-run China Daily said.

Besides, `WikiLeaks`, whose controversial leaks were banned in the country with web firewalls blocking its websites as well as leaks of US documents about China, also figured among the 10 hottest terms on the Chinese Internet, according to a list published by the Chinese Wikipedia-style website.

Web users looked for a definition of "micro blog" more than three million times on this year and sought out the meaning of `WikiLeaks` nearly 800,000 times. also asked Internet surfers to vote for the most popular terms and both `micro blog` and `WikiLeaks` drew "a deluge of votes", the website said.

Also high on the list of searches was "showing off my father", a news story about the drunken son of top Chinese police official flaunting his dad`s name after being involved in a fatal hit-and-run case making the authorities to take a stern view of it.

Other terms on the popular list included the "era of inflation" reflecting the fact that prices have been soaring throughout China, and "vuvuzela trumpet", a China-made plastic horn which made the 2010 World Cup in South Africa the noisiest one.

Micro blogs have emerged as a game changer in 2010 with about 73 percent of Chinese micro-bloggers now using the medium as a major source of information, the website said, adding that 94 percent of users said micro-blogging had changed their way of life.

According to a report on China`s micro blog market released by news portal in September, China`s micro-blogging population had grown rapidly from more than 54 million people in March to more than 103 million people.

Some 63 celebrities` micro blogs have attracted more than one million fans.

Today, around 25 percent of China`s 420 million Internet users are micro-bloggers, the report said.

A study released by Analysts International, an Internet consultancy organisation, said there could be 145 million people using micro blogs in China by next year.

With micro-blogging attracting so many people, including officials, scholars and celebrities, it is increasing acting like a new medium of information sharing between people, the authorities and news providers.

The fast spread of micro blog is having its impact on the official print and television media as well which is now trying to expand its critical editorial content to make itself interesting.

Also this week, People`s Daily, the official organ of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), launched its new search engine to rival Google and Baidu.

Authorities in 59 cities and regions launched official micro blogs in 2010.

Micro blogs have been an important conduit for sharing news, the Daily said adding that the first information about the catastrophic mudslide in the Gansu province in August was released through Sina Weibo, China`s largest micro-blogging service, by a 19-year-old boy named Wang Kai, who was later described as a "one-man news agency".