China employs more than 2 million people… just to monitor the Internet

posted at 5:31 pm on October 5, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

While we are all too familiar with the many pitfalls that plague our own expansive and convoluted bureaucracy currently staffing our republic, just imagine the opportunity costs, inefficiencies, and abuses that must be inherent in coordinating the jingoistic statism that is the governing method of choice for China’s communist-yet-plutocratic regime. Glorious communist utopias don’t just run themselves, obviously, and that means plenty of manpower — and how.

The other day, I mentioned that the country’s president Xi Jinping — in his oh-so-endearing Maoist earnestness — has been making it his business to take the workings of China’s already impressive surveillance state up a notch, most recently by limiting the spread of anti-regime “online rumors” via newsy cell-phone apps. Question: How many bureaucrats does it take to create a vast network to regulate any potentially subversive stirrings on even their Great-Firewalled Internet and within what social media forums they allow? …Approximately 2 million people, evidently:

China is employing two million people to keep tabs on people’s Internet use, according to state media, in a rare glimpse into the secret world of Beijing’s vast online surveillance operation.

Many of the employees are simply performing keyword searches to monitor the tens of millions of messages being posted daily on popular social media and microblogging sites, the Beijing News said.

The exact number of people employed to trawl through the Internet in a bid to prevent social unrest and limit criticism of the ruling Community party has long been the subject of speculation.

The “web police” are employed by the government’s propaganda arm, as well as by commercial sites, the Beijing News said. …

China’s censorship authorities tightly control online content for fear of political or social unrest that could challenge the Communist party’s grip on power.

Why it is that the most clearly superior and only morally righteous system of governance in all the world should require such concentrated dissent-squashing efforts remains a mystery.


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Obama and NSA’s dream

jaywemm on October 5, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Creating value.

Murphy9 on October 5, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Call me skeptical.

CWchangedhisNicagain on October 5, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Why would we even want to bring this up? Considering the fact that our NSA is probably pulling more information on Americans than those 2 million people in China are on their 6 times as many citizens?

astonerii on October 5, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Utopia!

Chinese woman forced to have abortion after second pregnancy

Feng’s husband, Deng Jiyuan, 29, told CNN he was trying to secure a birth permit to allow his wife to have a second child but could not come up with the money — 40,000 yuan, or about $6,300 — in time. Deng told the South China Morning Post the payment is “more than what I earned in four years.”

Murphy9 on October 5, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Why it is that the most clearly superior and only morally righteous system of governance in all the world should require such concentrated dissent-squashing efforts remains a mystery.

You are talking about America right?

astonerii on October 5, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Big deal. Given this nation’s unemployment rate, we’ve got 11.3 million (and probably closer to 22 million) who monitor the internet for free. Well, maybe not monitor-monitor, but they stare at the screen a lot.

de rigueur on October 5, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Well, that’s only .2% of the population spying on everyone’s internet use. Thuggery is the only thing statists do efficiently.

RadClown on October 5, 2013 at 5:40 PM

NYT hardest hit.

mankai on October 5, 2013 at 5:42 PM

That’s a smaller percentage of their population than our non-essential government employees. Just the ones our government admits are non-essential.

Fenris on October 5, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Once I was in Shanghai and I was watching CNN (the English language TV station choices are very limited there) in my hotel in the morning, and CNN started a story about China internet censorship. Within the first few sentences the screen went blank and the sound went off. The broadcast re-appeared as normal after a minute or two, but only just as the story was ending. I thought it might just be a coincidence, but later that evening I was back in my hotel room watching CNN again and the same story came on (you know how they play these things on a loop) and the screen went blank again at exactly the same point as in the morning, and the broadcast came back on again at exactly the time it had that morning, when the story was ending. Creepy.

WhatSlushfund on October 5, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Why would we even want to bring this up? Considering the fact that our NSA is probably pulling more information on Americans than those 2 million people in China are on their 6 times as many citizens?
astonerii on October 5, 2013 at 5:37 PM

You can’t be serious.

A lot of you seem to have turned into America haters.

Genuine on October 5, 2013 at 5:52 PM

You can’t be serious.

A lot of you seem to have turned into America haters.

Genuine on October 5, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Refute a single item I just mentioned! Just one.

astonerii on October 5, 2013 at 5:55 PM

You can’t be serious.

A lot of you seem to have turned into America haters.

Genuine on October 5, 2013 at 5:52 PM

The nation has a government, not the other way around.

If you think the government spying on citizens or using the IRS to squash dissent because, golly, the government is America.

You don’t get it and the fascists love it when that happens.

mankai on October 5, 2013 at 6:02 PM

One would think that running the most righteous system would alleviate any worries of dissent.

OldEnglish on October 5, 2013 at 6:08 PM

So does OFA in its various iterations.

onlineanalyst on October 5, 2013 at 6:11 PM

The next Obama-Biden jobs bill?

batter on October 5, 2013 at 6:12 PM

China employs more than 2 million people… just to monitor the Internet

Obama’s wet dream.

VorDaj on October 5, 2013 at 6:13 PM

You can’t be serious.

A lot of you seem to have turned into America haters.

Genuine on October 5, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Obama is an America hater and he is quite serious.

VorDaj on October 5, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Obama only employs 60,000 in the NSA to monitor us.

Murphy9 on October 5, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Thomas Friedman now has an idea for his next column …

PackerBronco on October 5, 2013 at 6:16 PM

…and the broadcast came back on again at exactly the time it had that morning, when the story was ending. Creepy.

WhatSlushfund on October 5, 2013 at 5:50 PM

You would think they’d put it on time delay so the censors could push the button before the viewers heard the topic. Especially the 2nd time around. People aren’t stupid, they hear the topic and assume the worst. But I guess the commie government is just as incompetent as ours.

Fenris on October 5, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Genuine on October 5, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Rev. Jeremiah Wright?

Murphy9 on October 5, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Obama only employs 60,000 in the NSA to monitor us.

Murphy9 on October 5, 2013 at 6:15 PM

How many work at AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Google, Microsoft, … How many does Obama have available in order to keep track of us again?

How many people do the super computers employed replace? What does automatic internet traffic collection do to increase the amount of information available to use against the citizens?

astonerii on October 5, 2013 at 6:34 PM

Speak out of line, and America turns into a you-hater. So does the UK and so do other Western countries.

In the old Soviet Union two things would get you in trouble fast: denying that there was freedom of speech, and acting as if there was. That’s how things work in the West.

In the Soviet Union, after Stalin it wasn’t often that you would go to jail for saying the wrong thing, but you would suffer other penalties like losing your job. Soviet supporters would say that that wasn’t really the legal suppression of free speech, but we called shenanigans on that, rightly. That same system is now how things work in the West, including America.

Caspar Weinberger’s killer argument for the West over the Soviet Union was that here (he was in the UK at the time, debating, but obviously he meant America too) nobody has to fear a midnight knock. In the UK after the Woolwich slaughter, the police raided a man at 3am in his home and dragged him off to prison for tweeting against Islam.

There are lots of incidents like that: people arrested for saying something on the bus in the UK, people standing trial for strong opinions, an anti-free-speech “tribunal” in Canada, a journalist and preachers going to jail in Australia (do not quote the nasty bits of the Koran unless you are justifying them – it’s illegal!) – and lots and lots of incidents of politically incorrect speech being shut up in America too. John Derbyshire being fired for “the talk” is one example.

The Chinese don’t have freedom of speech but neither do we.

David Blue on October 5, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Gosh, Salem Communications, these ads you keep putting up that targets my Internet browsing is not only a violation of my privacy, one would imagine after three months of the same ads appearing, I just might have made my purchase and no longer need the constant reminders.

John the Libertarian on October 5, 2013 at 6:36 PM

The New York Times isn’t any more honest than Pravda in is glory days.

We live under a system of official lying supported by “the commanding heights of the economy”.

David Blue on October 5, 2013 at 6:38 PM

The Chinese don’t have freedom of speech but neither do we.

David Blue on October 5, 2013 at 6:35 PM

A certain youtube filmmaker would tend to agree.

John the Libertarian on October 5, 2013 at 6:38 PM

A certain youtube filmmaker would tend to agree.

John the Libertarian on October 5, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Exactly! This is the kind of thing I mean.

David Blue on October 5, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Comments are increasingly being shut down, monitored or censored in the “news” stories and pro-global-warming “science” stories that the lying establishment doesn’t want torn to thread in the comments.

They make it hard or impossible for people to speak with anonymity. You can’t have a say unless they have your legal name and address. Why? Because retaliation is a consideration, and when that comes in, the comments suddenly turn bland and “safe”.

That’s not freedom.

David Blue on October 5, 2013 at 6:44 PM

…and the broadcast came back on again at exactly the time it had that morning, when the story was ending. Creepy.

WhatSlushfund on October 5, 2013 at 5:50 PM

You would think they’d put it on time delay so the censors could push the button before the viewers heard the topic. Especially the 2nd time around. People aren’t stupid, they hear the topic and assume the worst. But I guess the commie government is just as incompetent as ours.

Fenris on October 5, 2013 at 6:19 PM

That’s my assumption also. China is weird – on one hand it is, in theory, a totalitarian regime, yet at the same time it is utterly incompetent at being a totalitarian regime, and because of corruption and incompetence it lacks the ability to even marginally control most of its country. The country is mostly chaotic. They’re like incompetent totalitarians, and so the evidence of their totalitarian bent seems very lug-headed and heavy-handed. Much like the Russians. And, as you point out, the sorry state of our government.

WhatSlushfund on October 5, 2013 at 7:03 PM

China is paranoid…and does not trust its people.
Paranoia eventually brings a system down.

Obama is paranoid…and does not trust the American people…

albill on October 5, 2013 at 7:04 PM

David Blue on October 5, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Didn’t many of the founding fathers use pseudonyms?

astonerii on October 5, 2013 at 7:05 PM

Crap,

Now Valarie Jarrett,just got’d an idea!!
(sarc)

canopfor on October 5, 2013 at 7:06 PM

“A lot of you seem to have turned into America haters.”

I love my country. However, I’m beginning to hate my government. See the difference?

mpthompson on October 5, 2013 at 7:08 PM

It’s been how long since Chuck Hagel’s surprise announcement that the Obama administration is recalling most furloughed civilian workers? I’d say that’s worthy of a comment, or at least a link in the headlines, but hey, let’s have a commie-bashing story instead!

Mr. Arkadin on October 5, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Sort of like the newly famous I-nearly-bought-Obamacare OFA volunteer and (D) donor Chad Henderson?

rogerb on October 5, 2013 at 7:13 PM

mpthompson on October 5, 2013 at 7:08 PM

I hate my government. I hate those who enable our government. Those who enable this government are a majority. I love what my government should be and was before my birth. I love those few Americans who still fight to return this nation to the founding principles.

astonerii on October 5, 2013 at 7:13 PM

The largest paid porn surfing community on the planet!

ajacksonian on October 5, 2013 at 7:24 PM

China employs more than 2 million people… just to monitor the Internet

Obama’s wet dream.

VorDaj on October 5, 2013 at 6:13 PM

…are they working to get the Health Care web sites… working?

KOOLAID2 on October 5, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Didn’t many of the founding fathers use pseudonyms?

astonerii on October 5, 2013 at 7:05 PM

Yes.

The Wikipedia List of pseudonyms used in the American constitutional debates is long.

David Blue on October 5, 2013 at 8:11 PM

If the founding fathers existed today, with all the same opinions they had then, including on race, religion and the legitimacy of using violence to secure freedom, they would still have to use pseudonyms, and the system would be all about getting their names, addresses and verified phone numbers on a list, and firing them, harassing them and otherwise shutting them up.

David Blue on October 5, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Why it is that the most clearly superior and only morally righteous system of governance in all the world should require such concentrated dissent-squashing efforts remains a mystery.

Indeed.

David Blue on October 5, 2013 at 8:18 PM

China employs more than 2 million people… just to monitor the Internet

No wonder it takes 5 hours to log on over there.

And I dunno, but maybe the NSA has moved operations to China for cheap labor as well.

JetBoy on October 5, 2013 at 8:31 PM

Go to any US military think tank comment section and it is full of what I believe to be Cicom moles. They react to anti chicom comments specifically and come up with often what sounds like straight chicom party line propaganda.

More widespread than anyone wants to admit.

C-Low on October 5, 2013 at 9:07 PM

China employs more than 2 million people… just to monitor the Internet

Some day this will all be done by computer.

Kenosha Kid on October 5, 2013 at 10:19 PM

It’s been how long since Chuck Hagel’s surprise announcement that the Obama administration is recalling most furloughed civilian workers? I’d say that’s worthy of a comment, or at least a link in the headlines, but hey, let’s have a commie-bashing story instead!

Mr. Arkadin on October 5, 2013 at 7:11 PM

You poor reprobate. What is the perversion you can’t give up that makes you a democrat disciple?

Murphy9 on October 5, 2013 at 10:43 PM

Is this any different than Obama/Jarrett and their IRS team?

Hobbes on October 5, 2013 at 10:58 PM

Obama’s NSA can do that without having to hire anyone.

The Chinese could learn a thing or two from the greatest tyrant in history.

katy on October 5, 2013 at 11:52 PM

China employs more than 2 million people community leaders

FIFY

Shy Guy on October 6, 2013 at 1:35 AM

That’s my assumption also. China is weird – on one hand it is, in theory, a totalitarian regime, yet at the same time it is utterly incompetent at being a totalitarian regime, and because of corruption and incompetence it lacks the ability to even marginally control most of its country. The country is mostly chaotic. They’re like incompetent totalitarians, and so the evidence of their totalitarian bent seems very lug-headed and heavy-handed. Much like the Russians. And, as you point out, the sorry state of our government.

WhatSlushfund on October 5, 2013 at 7:03 PM

The Malice and Incompetence of Totalitarianism are not mutually exclusive… the two seem to go hand in hand in fact.

Chaz706 on October 6, 2013 at 1:58 AM

more than 2 million people… just to monitor the Internet

Once again, Obama is outdone by his communist soul mates. He only had a few hundred thousand public servants to do his snooping, but give him time…..

Don L on October 6, 2013 at 6:21 AM

Google ready jobs?

Don L on October 6, 2013 at 6:22 AM

Is there anywhere we can find a link to the original source Erika?

The referenced france24 article says this information comes from ‘Beijing News’, but I can’t seem to find any link to that source. Perhaps you found one?

DarkCurrent on October 6, 2013 at 7:56 AM

I supposed not…

DarkCurrent on October 6, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Seems the weekly unsubstantiated sinophobic rant from Erika (Chinese name 恶日花 or “Erihua” in Roman characters)

DarkCurrent on October 6, 2013 at 4:53 PM

For some reason my comment providing the link to the original Chinese source and brief explanation what it actually says (significantly different from the spin it got here) hasn’t posted. Hopefully it will show up sometime.

DarkCurrent on October 9, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Eighth time’s the charm they say…

After some digging I was able to locate the original Chinese source here:

epaper (dot) bjnews (dot) com (dot) cn/html/2013-10/03/content_469152 (dot) htm

It does indeed say that the number of people employed in ‘internet public opinion monitoring’ is about 2 million, but this number includes employees of private companies that monitor opinion on behalf of their clients, both public and private.

It also says that besides private organizations, the national and local governments use reports from these public opinion monitors to support decision making and to improve communications with the public (“communications” presumably including but not limited to propaganda).

The article also explicitly states that public opinion monitors have found censorship of posts to be counter-productive and recommend against it.

(I realize this thread is dead, but they’re sometimes linked back to, so there you have it.)

DarkCurrent on October 9, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Seems posting a correctly formed URL was causing some problem.

DarkCurrent on October 9, 2013 at 3:59 PM