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

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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