Two amazing facts come out of John Kennedy’s post this morning on SCMP, and I’m not sure which should be presented first. We’ll just excerpt from the top:
According to the Beijing News, a meeting of propaganda department heads was held yesterday to unveil the city’s latest plans to control online content, plans which place microblogs firmly at the centre of propaganda efforts.
So when you see a bevy of new microblog accounts with no profile picture, less than 100 followers, and a constant stream of forwarded links from People’s Daily and badge notifications from Happy Farm, you’ll know the propaganda department’s plan is working perfectly.
Those in attendance, the newspaper writes, were told by Beijing propaganda chief and deputy mayor Lu Wei to mobilise the city’s combined force of over 2 million propaganda workers in opening accounts on microblog sites to spread “positive energy”, a mission described in the report as the guidance of online discussions of sensitive topics in a “positive” direction.
Holy smoke, 2 million paid sycophants. (To be precise, 2.06 million.) If each of them made just one obsequious/truthy/anti-intellectual comment per day, the city would be down 1 million yuan. That’s a lot of dough to pledge to useless halfwits.
In case you’re wondering, the figure was explained as “only as comprising just over 60,000 people directly employed by various propaganda bodies with the remaining 2 million ‘outside the system.’”