Beijing orders its 2.06 million 'propaganda workers' to get microblogging
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.
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.
At the same time, officials were told to closely monitor sentiment on microblog sites involving any sensitive issues, starting with the city's upcoming mobile phone real-name registration policy.
Other hot topics listed as in need of opinion guidance include social transition and economic fluctuation, food prices, unemployment, housing prices, and income distribution.
Keeping in line with current internet regulation practices, those at the meeting were told to maintain efforts to "purify" the online environment through crackdowns on harmful and vulgar information.
In comments on the news on Sina Weibo this morning, many seem confused by references to the existence of 2.06 million propaganda workers in the city, a figure explained only as comprising just over 60,000 people directly employed by various propaganda bodies with the remaining 2 million "outside the system".
All government agencies, media outlets and administrative offices at every level in the city will be required to open microblog accounts under the plan, according to the report.
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