Attention: Be aware of whom you are dealing with

RPK

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Probably this might not be a new thing to start with, but with a devastating increase in the number of Chinese in online blogs and forums might bring some unease to fellow members.
It is a world known fact that Gov of china employs hundreds of thousands of chinese only for commenting and replying others posts online be it a blog or forum or any website news article.

People might get frustrated when you put valuable discussions up on the forum and a paid comentator simply jumps and trolls the whole blog/forum.

If you are sharing a part of your free time,make sure that every word you post is going to be replied by a person who is getting a paycheck every month for doing so.

The last few years have seen a tremendous rise in Chinese activity on the internet.If few were employed to hack other countries gov servers and business the rest were employed to support a communist government in china.
I personally stopped bothering to reply a chinese after coming to know that I spend my free time while he is earning for doing so.

Might be ,few articles can do a great help.
PAID COMMENTING
50 Cent PARTY
 

Dark_Prince

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Both articles (including wiki link) were a Good reading.... They may be able to skew the opinion in China, but I doubt their effectiveness at International level; nonetheless its dirty business and totalitarian regimes depend on such methods.
 

tarunraju

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If he doesn't reply to your posts, he probably will reply to posts by someone else. It won't make a difference. Besides there's no way of telling who gets paid, unless he discloses that (logically the consequences of doing so include getting fired).
 

hit&run

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China's internet 'spin doctors'

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

Controlling views expressed on the internet is a challenge for authorities China is using an increasing number of paid "internet commentators" in a sophisticated attempt to control public opinion. These commentators are used by government departments to scour the internet for bad news - and then negate it. They post comments on websites and forums that spin bad news into good in an attempt to shape public opinion. Chinese leaders seem aware that the internet - the only public forum where views can be freely expressed - needs close attention.

China's Communist Party leaders have long sought to sway public opinion by controlling what the media can report. That policy was extended to the internet, and many websites are blocked by a system sometimes dubbed the "great firewall of China".

Rumours and opinions

But cyberspace - where views can be expressed instantly and anonymously - is not as easy to control as traditional news outlets. Comments, rumours and opinions can be quickly spread between internet groups in a way that makes it hard for the government to censor. So instead of just trying to prevent people from having their say, the government is also attempting to change they way they think. To do this, they use specially trained - and ideologically sound - internet commentators. They have been dubbed the "50-cent party" because of how much they are reputed to be paid for each positive posting (50 Chinese cents; $0.07; £0.05).
"Almost all government departments face criticism that is beyond their control," said Xiao Qiang, of the University of California at Berkeley.
"There is nothing much they can do, other than organise their own spinning teams to do their public relations," said the journalism professor, who monitors China.

''[They] need to possess relatively good political and professional qualities'', and have a pioneering and enterprising spirit Extract from internal document produced by Nanning city authority, Guangxi province

Spin machine

A document released by the public security bureau in the city of Jiaozuo in Henan province boasts of the success of this approach. It retells the story of one disgruntled citizen who posted an unfavourable comment about the police on a website after being punished for a traffic offence. One of the bureau's internet commentators reported this posting to the authorities within 10 minutes of it going up. The bureau then began to spin, using more than 120 people to post their own comments that neatly shifted the debate. "Twenty minutes later, most postings supported the police - in fact many internet users began to condemn the original commentator," said the report.
Millions of Chinese people use internet forums and message boards These internet opinion-formers obviously need to show loyalty and support to the authorities. They also need other skills, as a document from the hygiene department in the city of Nanning in Guangxi province makes clear. "[They] need to possess relatively good political and professional qualities, and have a pioneering and enterprising spirit," the document said. They also need to be able to react quickly, it went on.

'Tens of thousands'

The practice of hiring these commentators was started a couple of years ago by local governments which found it hard to control public opinion. They could not rely on Beijing to monitor and block every single piece of news about their localities, so they came up with their own solution. Internet commentators have now become widespread, according to experts. Some estimate that there are now tens of thousands of them. There are also reports that special centres have been set up to train China's new army of internet spin doctors. Their job is more important than it would be elsewhere in the world. "Politically, the internet is more important in China than in other societies because it's the only public space where people can express themselves," said Professor Xiao. That is a point that has not escaped Chinese President Hu Jintao. When he chatted online in an internet forum earlier this year he said it was important to set up "a new pattern of media guidance" for the internet. China's teams of state-sponsored commentators have a lot of work ahead of them.
 

qilaotou

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"50 cents party members!" These were jokes among Chinese posters on people with stubborn opinions. Now it is "discovered" as one of China's state secrets. Is it a naive bias or stupidity? I don't know.
 

aelite

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Haha. I'm an Mechanical Design Mngineering. I think I'm not belong to our goverment.
And I just heard that until now. "50 cents party"......

Ok. I know some about : " 50 cents party" from google and baidu.
Actually I don't know how to say that. I support freedom in internet. Of course my post have ever been delete in some china website. haha.
And " 50 cents party " is not only for who work for gov. haha.
The next day is Chinese New Year eye. Hope everyone happy.
 

no smoking

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Interesting, is that the meaning of demoracy: if you can't fight your opposite with fact, you can label them as "traitor" or "Spy".

Maybe I should shut up since in most threads, I always write sth which obviously make these gentlemen uncomfortable.
 

tarunraju

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Interesting, is that the meaning of demoracy: if you can't fight your opposite with fact, you can label them as "traitor" or "Spy".

Maybe I should shut up since in most threads, I always write sth which obviously make these gentlemen uncomfortable.
Nobody from here did. A leading publication made the report. It must have done its research before publishing such a report.

Interesting, is that the meaning of a communist oligarchy. When faced with truths about government adopting questionable means to tackle anything, people are forced to come up with a way to support it, otherwise the state labels them as "traitor" or "spy".
 

johnee

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rpraveen, thanx for the articles. It confirms the suspicions that many might have. Its astonishing to see that no chinese poster ever criticizes his Govt for any action unlike people from other nationalities. That itself makes them suspicious. Any normal chinese citizen would not be totally happy with his Govt, just as any normal Indian, Pakistani, American, British or Bangladeshi would not be completely happy with his Govt. But people who get paid to spread the propaganda are always in agreement with their Govt policies.
 

ajtr

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How China's '50 Cent Army' Could Wreck Web 2.0
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.”

Some estimates claim that the 50 Cent Army includes a whopping 300,000 people. If that’s accurate, China's freelance propagandists exceed in number the total populations of 47 countries.

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Why This Isn’t “Astroturfing”

Of course, the Chinese didn't invent the idea. In the US, for example, political campaigns, companies and other organizations have been known to use paid staff or volunteers to post messages en masse to create a false impression that the public supports or opposes something. A genuine bubble of opinion is called a "grass roots" movement. So faking that is called "astroturfing."

The difference between China's 50 Cent Army and astroturfing is fourfold. First, is scale. A typical astroturfing campaign might involve a few or maybe a dozen people at most. Or, in the case of a mass mailing, it could involve thousands of people who voice or submit their opinions only once or twice. China's approach involves thousands of times more people.

The second difference is duration. China's 50 Cent Army works every day, all year, year after year. Astroturfing efforts, on the other hand, are one-off projects designed to achieve specific, limited goals. The reason is that a free press and the machinations of multi-party democracy quickly expose astroturfing projects and turn public opinion against their agendas. Because the Chinese government is accountable to neither the public nor the press, it can sustain Internet mass-propaganda efforts indefinitely.


Third, China's 50 Cent Army, when used abroad, hits people who aren't expecting it. When a political group in the US fakes a grass roots movement, it does so in an environment where people are skeptical and have their guards up. But most people in the West have no idea that China is constantly swaying public opinion on the Internet, and tend to accept what they see at face value.

And finally, China's degree of organization far exceeds any known effort elsewhere. The government's Culture Ministry reportedly trains and even certificates Web propagandists. It’s run like a professional organization.

How This Affects You and Me

Criticism of the Chinese government abroad is often countered by the argument that China's political system is an "internal matter" -- something that's none of the business of outsiders. But China’s 50 Cent Army is everybody's business.

With 300,000 people, you can see how the CCP could easily determine what makes it onto the front page of Digg, and what gets shouted down. They could use Wikipedia, YouTube and Slashdot as their most powerful tools of global propaganda. It would be trivial for China to determine Yahoo's "Most Popular" news items ("Most E-Mailed," "Most Viewed" and "Most Recommended").

Over the long term, the existence of China’s 50 Cent Army erodes the value of the Web 2.0, which is based entirely on the actions of users. If half those users are working for the CCP, then the results of user actions are compromised. Nobody can trust it.

It’s also yet another threat to Internet anonymity, which is already under pressure from legislators and some organizations who believe that anonymous posts create opportunities for fraud, deception and the exploitation of children. The more China’s 50 Cent Army succeeds, the more support will fall behind the idea of fixing the problem by illegalizing anonymity.

Ultimately, China’s 50 Cent Army threatens free speech. And although new threats to free speech are constantly being invented – the 50 Cent Army being one of the most recent innovations – the defense of free speech is always the same: More free speech.

So be on the lookout for the CCP’s paid posters, and oppose them at every opportunity.
 

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