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Fifty Cent Party

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五毛党 (Wǔ Máo Dǎng): Fifty Cent Party

New character comprised of the two characters for “fifty” and “cents,” pronounced wao.
Grass-mud horses on the “fifty-cent note.”
Wu Hao, former deputy director of the Yunnan Province Propaganda Department, is showered with fifty-cent bills during a speech.
“Love to hide, do not love the truth / Love to be first, love to stand out / Love to guide public opinion, and love even more to pretend to be a netizen / My ten fingers are black / I do not have eyes / Who am I? / You cannot see me. / I am an Internet commentator / I am Fifty Cents.”

A “fifty-center” is anyone who actively and publicly posts opinions online that defend or support government policy. Netizens first coined the term “Fifty Cent Party” to refer to undercover Internet commentators paid by the government to sway public opinion (“fifty cents” is a reference to the alleged pay received per post).

As the following Sina Weibo comment demonstrates, the Fifty Cent Party has become the object of much scorn:

吕国栋-: When you criticize China, those who think that China is the best at everything will call you a traitor and tell you to get out of the country. When you are skeptical of foreign countries, another group of people will angrily label you as a fifty-center and curse you to die within the system. If you remain silent, the rest will complain that you only say formulaic phrases that have nothing valuable to add.
你批评中国,有人认为中国样样最棒,大骂你是卖国贼,让你滚出中国;你质疑外国,另一部分人就怒喷你是五毛党,咒你死在体制里;你什么都不说,剩下的就会埋怨你只会说段子,不会说点有营养的。

Netizens have also created comics about the Fifty Cent Party and “training manuals” for fifty-centers.

Artist and activist Ai Weiwei conducted a lengthy interview with a self-described fifty-center which circulated during his 2011 detention.