China’s new online army, the 50 Cent brigade unmasked

Does anyone remember earlier this year, round about the time the Olympic Torch started doing the rounds, when the world seemed to be divided into three camps:

  1. Bloggers who were pro-China and anti the rest of the world (particularly Budhists, cruncy hippies and anybody from France)
  2. Bloggers who were pro-Tibet and anti China(who strangely enough were cruncy hippies and not adverse to buying Tibetan flags from factories in Shenzhen)
  3. Everybody else wondering what the hell was going on.
  4. While the Chinese education system is a thing of wonder when it comes to ‘educating’ children on the ‘correct’ point of view and the propaganda power of the Chinese media in full force is a wonderful thing to behold the truth of the matter is that the propaganda department has taken a step up in the digital age.

    Not content with just building the most effective firewall out there (No, you crunchy hippies, Google had nothing to do with it, in fact the firewall is one of the reasons that Baidu has done so well in the battle of the search engines)

    But I digress. The reason for this blog is to share the development of the 50 cent army.

    No, I’m not talking about 50 cent’s Chinese fanbase but a growing mercenary army (made up of off-duty journalists and other desk jockeys, students and anybody else with a connection to a computer) who are paid 5 mao (the RMB version of 50 cents) per post to ‘direct’ comments the correct way inside of China.

    Thanks to Danwei there’s a couple of posts. Here’s the first and here’s the second.

    Kinda explains a few things doesn’t it.


    ~ by talkincode on July 17, 2008.

2 Responses to “China’s new online army, the 50 Cent brigade unmasked”

  1. […] Thomas Crampton: The blog from a freelance reporter based in Hong Kong who frequently travels to mainland China. He first broke the news of China’s 50 cent bloggers which I covered in a previous blog. […]

  2. […] a month ago I covered the emergence of the 50 cent brigade, now known in China as the 5 mao […]

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