"The phenomenon of 'citizen journalism' suddenly arrived several years ago," said Beijing-based dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was one of the student leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen democracy protests.
"Since the appearance of blogs in particular, every blog is a new platform for the spread of information."
He cited the example of a couple in the southwestern city of Chongqing who became known as the "Stubborn Nails" in April because they refused to leave their home until they received adequate compensation from the property developer who wanted them out.
They quickly became household names in China -- and symbols of resistance against greedy land developers and corrupt local authorities -- mainly thanks to Internet postings.
"That case was first revealed through blogs," Liu said.