Internet Spin for Stability Enforcers
China Media Project translates Chinese media reactions to news that Guangdong’s chengguan (urban management) team will be getting its own team of “fifty cent” paid Internet commentators:
The original story — independently reported by Guangzhou Daily, Southern Metropolis Daily, China News Service, the Information Times and Shanghai’s Xinmin Evening News — quoted the head of Guangzhou’s City Inspectors Committee (广州城管委), Li Yangui (李廷贵), as saying at an awards ceremony that the Guangzhou committee would build a system of internet commentators, “working together with relevant departments to strengthen processing and monitoring of online public opinion.”
The goal, Li said (invoking the old media control buzzword of “guidance”), would be to “track and analyze online public opinion, preventing the spread of undesirable information and thereby generating positive guidance of public opinion.”
The cheekiest response came the following day from China Youth Daily , with columnist Liang Fafu (梁发芾) expressing support for China’s proposed “real-name registration system,” which would effectively end anonymity on China’s web.
In order to deal with negative online information and channel public opinion, a number of government departments have set up special internet commentator teams as well as part-time teams, and this is no longer a secret. It’s my view that we should make information about internet commentators completely open and transparent, instituting a system of real-name registration for internet commentators making online posts. The government has touted the real-name system for the web all along, and we should begin with internet commentators.