Two years ago, Chinese President Hu Jintao called on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members to “assert supremacy over online public opinion, raise the level and study the art of online guidance and actively use new technologies to increase the strength of positive propaganda.”
After Hu’s speech, Communist Party officials and the State Council issued an official call for “comrades of good ideological and political character, high capability and familiarity with the Internet to form teams of Web commentators … who can employ methods and language Web users can accept to actively guide online public opinion.”
The CCP has hired thousands of freelance Internet propagandists whose job is to infiltrate chat rooms, message boards and comment areas on the Internet posing as ordinary users to voice support for the agenda and interest of the CCP. They praise China’s one-party system and condemn anyone who criticizes China’s policy on Tibet. They comment aggressively on news reports about China’s food-safety problems, relations with Taiwan, suppression of bird-flu and AIDS information, Internet censorship, jailing of dissidents, support of Sudan’s military in Darfur and other sensitive topics. Comments applaud the Chinese government and slam its critics, all using scripts and lines approved by the party.
The BBC calls these freelance propagandists China’s 50 Cent Party. The Guardian newspaper calls it the 50 Cent Army. (50 Cent isn’t a rapper in this case, but a reference to the pay: 50 Chinese “cents” per post, which is equivalent to about 7 US cents). Other names include “red vests” and the “red vanguard.”
I’ll stop there, but the whole article is worth reading.
I know cheating is a virtue for chinese people, but this is going too far. I do not want the Chinese taking over popular opinion forums all over the web in their best interest. I want my internet back.
Cheating scoundrels. :raspberry:
I meant to add, are they here yet? How soon before they take over Forumosa? I know we have suspicions about a few posters in IP and the Taiwan politcs forum, but can you imagine if it went full scale here? May as well sell Flob to the Chinese then, it won’t be worth anything.
The word is getting out that these people exist and there will be more pressure on moderators everywhere to access posters’ integrity. As Chris says, they usually out themselves with unrealistic personal histories matched with bombastic pro-China rhetoric. Or simply the latter.
As Sandman once said, the CCP has gotten a pretty raw deal with anyone they’ve sent on Fcom as these people have failed to convince a single poster of the rightness of their ideas.
There’s only one that I know of right now, but he’s long since given up trying to convert anyone and just has fun like the rest of us – sending himself up as a parody of himself. You gotta admire him for it, though. I KNOW I 'aint getting no fitty cents per post.
I’m really dubious as to whether anyone could effectively produce propaganda, not in their native language. It’s almost impossible to convince people to change their opinions even when the ‘propogandist’ is a very literate, convincing writer from the readers’ own cultures.
We are all used to sophisticated advertising and political spin, etc, about things that are closer in daily significance to us. Modern life is all about bs detection! Few English (or other languages on other boards) speakers are going to respond to ‘Tibet are splittists!’ ‘CSB= EVIL, China good’ or whatever no-shades-of-grey nonsense they come up with.
As for me, I’d love to have a conversation with a Chinese person about these issues. I met a couple of great kids, studying in the UK, who were interested in others’ opinions, but most simply lectured me about stuff they had no direct experience of. Yawn.
3. Have you also not looked at it from the opposite spectrum of hardening of beliefs in the posters, they not only reinforce their beliefs by writing them, but also defending them.[/quote]
Never really thought of it like that. Very interesting because that seems like something that would be very effective whereas trying to persuade people would not, generally.