Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Political astroturf in China

Are your students familiar with the term "astroturf" as it relates to the idea of "grassroots?"

How about astroturf politics in China?

[Thanks to Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing for pointing this one out.]

China's internet 'spin doctors'

"China is using an increasing number of paid "internet commentators" in a sophisticated attempt to control public opinion.

"These commentators are used by government departments to scour the internet for bad news - and then negate it.

"They post comments on websites and forums that spin bad news into good in an attempt to shape public opinion...

"To do this, they use specially trained - and ideologically sound - internet commentators.

"They have been dubbed the '50-cent party' because of how much they are reputed to be paid for each positive posting (50 Chinese cents; $0.07; £0.05)...

"A document released by the public security bureau in the city of Jiaozuo in Henan province boasts of the success of this approach..."

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