CHINA’S “GOVERNMENT-IS-GREAT, REALLY” MARKETING: After Julian posted his comments on “hoof-in-mouth” marketing, I came across this article from earlier in the year CHINA: China Hires Net Squad to Sway Opinion. The Chinese newspaper Southern Weekend reported May 19, 2005 that China has formed a taskforce of undercover online commentators to sway public opinion on controversial issues over the Internet.
According to the report, a force of online commentators has already been in operation in Suqian since April, defending the government when negative comments appear on blogs, bulletin boards and chat rooms as ‘ordinary netizens’. Suqian city’s propaganda department recruited the commentators from among government officials, as they must be versed in politics and be politically reliable. 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.
Beijing has created a special Internet police force believed responsible for shutting down domestic sites posting politically unacceptable content, blocking some foreign news sites and jailing several people for their online postings. The country has nearly 100 million Internet users, according to official figures, and the figure is rising.