Good Luck With That

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The Times of India is reporting that, according to a China-based weekly, China has formed "a special force of undercover online commentators" to pepper the internet with pro-government posts:

"They will guide public opinion as ordinary netizens. This is both important and effective," Ma Zhichun, one of the recruited commentators, was quoted as saying….

The Communist Party's top disciplinary and supervision body trained 127 officials for such jobs last year to "strengthen Internet propaganda on its anti-corruption undertaking," the weekly said.

China has 100 million internet users and, by some estimates, half a million bloggers.

Whole thing here.
Wired profile of Chinese blog empire-builder here.
Julian Sanchez unmasks an "undercover online commentator" here.

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  1. Is it just me, or did the Beijing government just admit that its partisans can’t hold their own in a fair fight?

  2. Joe, no more so than our own government made such an admission when they hired Jeff Gannon.

  3. You know,

    Government hacks building up their self voiced nom-de-plumes from the ground up in an egalitarian playing field (like blog commentary) seems more fair (or at least honest) to me than subverting established commentators’ voices in a limited-access media environment with a big pile of cash, such as the Armstrong Williams affair.

    I suppose if these 127 have special enforcement powers, it’s very troubling in the event people bite off a state investigation as a result of a degenerated troll war, but on the other hand, if I were a chinese citizen, in this age of google, I’d either have to have the sack to post “The Communist party can kiss my ass” connected to my name on the internet, or I wouldn’t, irregardless of the existence of undercover investigators.

    Finally, there must be some kind of binary organization to this chinese blog squad: 2^7-1 commentators???

  4. …according to a China-based weekly, China has formed “a special force of undercover online commentators” to pepper the internet with pro-government posts…

    In other news, Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher have announced that they are immigrating to the People’s Republic of China.

  5. Could we call this the Great Leap Backward?

  6. I was hired by a big time producer when I was in college to hype up his latest movie on the internet. This sort of thing goes on all the time. I’m just surprised that China didn’t think of it sooner.

  7. Stretch,

    I know of that which you write. As a regular visitor on IMDB.com, I know that whenever I see a superlative review of an Ashton Kutcher film, there are nefarious forces behind the scenes.

  8. Let’s not forget that China rocks! Yum yum dim sum for everyone!

  9. I love the way the government shill declares his services as “effective” before the program is even underway.

    In the US, such a program would have the effect of immediately devaluing all comments supportive of the government, as opponents would be free to speculate that the pro-government commenter was just a paid shill.

  10. I think this is a good idea for improving the progressive spirit of the people! The Great Leader Bush will surely consider this tactic with judicious wisdom!

  11. Of course, the dissidents would be much worse 😉

  12. CTD, only an antisocial wrecker could disagree with that!

  13. keith–

    Maybe they only have have seven distinct commentators, and they just count every combination as being different.

    Of course, if they had 496 commentators, it’d be perfect. 🙂

  14. Did the government really hire Jeff Gannon (note: I’m really asking this, not making some strange escoteric commentary that only three other people can understand)? Thanks

  15. I invented the internet.

  16. You guys are just jealous that you don’t live in China, which is a wonderful place to live and has the bestest government ever. China Roxxors!!1111

  17. How do you type PLANT! in Chinese?

  18. Stop dissing China you guys. It is a wonderful country with a great government. It makes the American government look like on run by ignorant Neaderthals. The food they provide is delicious and they create lots of jobs, who could be opposed to that. It’s quite possible that I love China more than I love the 5 lovely Chinese women that arrived at my house yesterday and are feeding me grapes as we speak.

  19. I am American living in Xanghai. As I write this, Joan Chen and Bai Ling are pleasuring me in indescribable ways. This happen all the time in China here. Much better than USA. I write this as an native born American living in China.

  20. I’ve sometimes wondered if there weren’t political staff from like the RNC or wherever doin’ stuff like this.

    …I mean, when the whole torture apologist thing was goin’ on, didn’t you sometimes scratch your head and think, why would someone defend this?

  21. Ken,

    How about the maelstrom of new commenters proclaiming ecstatic devotion to Zell Miller the night of his RNC speech on Hit and Run?

  22. I remember that; that was funny joe!

    …and, as I remember, whoever posted that thread (I think it was either Sanchez or Walker) confirmed that several different posters all had the same IP address.

  23. I’m extremely amused by the possibility of Chinese government plants posting to Furry and Insane CLown Posse “Juggalo” forums.

  24. A big yell-out to all you Jugwailos! I am within the house!

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