Posts tagged ‘五毛党’

Friday, February 24, 2012

The “Four Ten-Thousands” for Labor Conflict Management: Grassroot Cadres, Collective-Bargaining Guides, Mediators, and Internet-Opinion Guides*)

Translated from Caijing, February 21, 2012

According to Guangzhou Daily, Guangdong Province is to organize ten-thousand public-opinion guides*) to increase the influence of the trade union’s leadership, educational and service workers, ten-thousand trainers for collective bargaining procedures, ten-thousand mediators for wage-related conflicts, and ten-thousand labor-union cadres who are to work within the companies, at the grassroots.


On  the fifth session of the 12th congress of the Guangdong Provincial Federation of Trade Unions Committee, on February 20, Guangdong province deputy secretary Zhu Mingguo demanded that unions on all levels should, on their own initiative, protect workers’ legal interests, and that offices needed to be established within the workshops, in every field. and the “Four Ten-Thousands” project be implemented.


Zhu Mingguo emphasized that this year, the trade union cadres must go to the key points, and face-to-face, heart-to-heart, and honestly do their work for the working masses. “The cadres must do their work in the workshops, in the field, they must protect the working peoples’ legal rights and interests at the front line, not from inside tall buildings.” It was essential to adhere to the implementation of the “four ten-thousands” project, to conscientiously take a clear stance, with a resounding voice, forceful measures, and effective help to solve the workers’ practical problems. The “four ten-thousands” project refers to the organization of ten-thousand union cadres at the grassroots, i. e. at the companies, to strengthen guidance and services; the formation of ten-thousand collective-bargaining guides, to guide the companies to conduct wage negotiations in accordance with the law; to organize ten-thousand mediators for wage-related conflicts to reconcile conflicts and to provide legal support to workers; and to establish ten-thousand internet opinion guides to play a role in guiding, educating and serving the workforce.


Zhu Mingguo particularly pointed out that in the era of the internet and microblogs, “everyone is a news spokesperson, everyone can turn into a journalist, the young generation of workers understands the internet, and the trade union cadres must understand the internet, too. When problems occur, they must not lose their voice, and silence or confused talk will only mess things up further”.




*) Public-sentiments guide may be a better translation for 舆情引导, as public-opinion guidance is usually referred to as 舆论引导, but I haven’t made up my mind yet and chose to stay with the more familiar “public-opinion guidance”. Readers’ advice is welcome.



» Rebel turns Party Secretary, Jan 17, 2012
» Wukan, Zhu Mingguo “sets new standard”, Asia Times, Jan 7, 2012
» How Real and Effective is the 50-Cent Party, Dec 20, 2008

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

17th Central Committee’s “Culture Document” – 6: Correct Guidance of Public Opinion

Click here for an explanation of the document translated in this series of posts.

« Previous post: (Socialist Honor and Shame, para [d], Erwei and Shuangbai, paras [a] and  [b]). The following is  a translation of the Erwei and Shuangbai chapter’s para (c).

c) The work of the news media must be strengthened, the correct guidance of public opinion is for the good of the party and the people, and errors in the guidance of public opinion spell disaster for the party and the people. We must adhere to a Marxist perspective on the news*), firmly grasp the correct direction, uphold, encourage and strengthen unity and stability, with priority given to positive propaganda, expand mainstream opinion, improve public opinion guidance’s timeliness, authority, public credibility, and influence, elaborate and propagandize the party’s position, promote societal righteousness, understand public sentiments clearly, guide social hot spots, channel the feelings of the masses, handle the function  of supervising public opinion well, protect the people’s right to information, participation, expression and supervision. For information dissemination,  and with party newspapers and journals, news agencies, radio and television as priorities, the combined urban media, the internet, etc., in accordance with an overall plan, we must build a pattern of public-opinion guidance with clear responsibilities, complementary functions, wide-spread effect, and high efficiency. We must strengthen and improve positive propaganda, strengthen systematic propaganda of socialist core values, strengthen our analysis and judgment of public opinion, guidance of social hot spots and problematic issues, and – beginning with the concerns of the masses – scientifically clarify puzzles and answer questions, and effectively cohere common views. We must handle news coverage on sudden major incidents well. bring the news coverage system to perfection, build a comprehensive system of emergency coverage and guidance of public opinion, improve timeliness and effectiveness, and increase transparency. We must strengthen and improve supervision of public opinion, promote and solve problems [in the way of] high esteem for the party and the government, and practical problems to which the masses react strongly, protect the interests of the people, the close ties between the party and the masses, and advance societal harmony. News media and news workers must grasp and uphold social responsibility and professional virtue, authentically and accurately disseminate news and information, resist false points of view on their own initiative, and resolutely eradicate false news.

(三)加强和改进新闻舆论工作。舆论导向正确是党和人民之福,舆论导向错误是党和人民之祸。要坚持马克思主义新闻观,牢牢把握正确导向,坚持团结稳定鼓 劲、正面宣传为主,壮大主流舆论,提高舆论引导的及时性、权威性和公信力、影响力,发挥宣传党的主张、弘扬社会正气、通达社情民意、引导社会热点、疏导公 众情绪、搞好舆论监督的重要作用,保障人民知情权、参与权、表达权、监督权。以党报党刊、通讯社、电台电视台为主,整合都市类媒体、网络媒体等宣传资源, 构建统筹协调、责任明确、功能互补、覆盖广泛、富有效率的舆论引导格局。加强和改进正面宣传,加强社会主义核心价值体系宣传,加强舆情分析研判,加强社会 热点难点问题引导,从群众关注点入手,科学解疑释惑,有效凝聚共识。做好重大突发事件新闻报道,完善新闻发布制度,健全应急报道和舆论引导机制,提高时效 性,增加透明度。加强和改进舆论监督,推动解决党和政府高度重视、群众反映强烈的实际问题,维护人民利益,密切党群关系,促进社会和谐。新闻媒体和新闻工 作者要秉持社会责任和职业道德,真实准确传播新闻信息,自觉抵制错误观点,坚决杜绝虚假新闻。

To be continued. Continued here.


*) see correct guidance of public opinion here, too.


» Human Rights: Throw them a Bone, April 16, 2011
» Many Cents, January 13, 2011
» How Real is the 50-Cent-Party, December 20, 2008


Monday, August 8, 2011

Mass Work: PSB teams up with Weibo and People’s Daily

On Monday, a year after its establishment, the Weibo channel of Beijing Safe and Well (平安北京), aka “Safe Beijing”, officially registered with Peoples Daily‘s website. Weibo is China’s micro-blogging platform, similar to Twitter (which is banned in China), and Beijing Safe and Well is an initiative from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (公安局, PSB).

I’m not sure what “registering with People’s Daily website” (落户人民网) means, but it seems to amount to People’s Daily republishing what the PSB posts on Weibo.

The initiative had been a certain public-relations success in establishing work with the masses (在公共关系建设和群众工作上取得了一定成效) as a carrier of information (资讯发布载体), a window of mass work (群众工作窗口), and a bridge for police-public communication (警民沟通桥梁), Beijing Police is quoted by People’s Daily. During its first year, they had posted more than 9,000 messages (more than 7,000 of them on Weibo), more than 2,000 blogposts, more than 200 videos, recorded some 26 million views and 1.5 million fans. There had been “successful handling of six suicide cases live on the internet etc.” (成功处置微博直播自杀等网络突发事件6件), and 170 other issues (or “situations”, 解决网友反映的突出情况).

The PSB are frequently referred to as “police”, but their work apparently goes far beyond handling situations as described by People’s Daily. When Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to eleven years in jail in December 2009, Teng Biao, another dissident, stated that a testimony he had previously made at the Beijing PSB had been used as evidence, even though he hadn’t been heard in court himself, and even though he hadn’t actually mentioned Liu Xiaobo in his testimony.

Allegedly, the PSB are also instrumental in spin-doctoring on the internet once sensitive situations arise locally.



» “How to speak in the Microblog Age”, CMP, August 2, 2011
Related Blogposts: “Social Management” (社会管理)


Updates / Related

» 平安北京, Weibo (more frequently updated than on People’s Daily)


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Human Rights: Throw them a Bone

I’m aware that many foreigners who work within China’s propaganda system in one or another way don’t wish China’s dissidents evil. But a recent blogpost on the Peking Duck (TPD) and many  reactions to it seems to depict the relationship between the Chinese and the foreign sides within Chinese propaganda in quite a remarkable way – fundamental misunderstandings included. The foreign side (by no means only TPD) appears to be quite mortified by recent developments.

TPD quotes from a Global Times commentary (English version, dated April 6), telling its readers that the experience of Ai Weiwei and other mavericks cannot be placed on the same scale as China’s human rights development and progress.

A disturbing and nauseating article, finds TPD. Besides, the Global Times’ staff appears to have been assigned to a big, collective fifty-cent-partisan job.

Richard Burger, that’s the TPD blogger, is described by James Fallows of  The Atlantic as

an American with long experience inside China — and working with Chinese authorities to more effectively “tell their story” to the outside world.

Back to the TPD blogpost itself, quoting from a discussion between Burger and an urbane, sophisticated, educated, talented and a truly wonderful person who happens to work for the Global Times:

“Why not throw the West a bone and let him go, declare an amnesty and then explain why he was detained in the first place.”

Foreign propaganda experts – James Fallows, too – appear to be stunned while watching how all the good “development aid” to China is evaporating  – and some of their reactions come across as if that loss hurts them more than the actual human rights violations the Global Times is trying to justify.

And their reactions seem to suggest that there would be more efficient ways than the Global Times’ current approach to do just that. Should I be curious? Should the Global Times be curious?



This post marks a break from my break from blogging, for the sake of  spontaneity.


China is no Puppet, it’s Complicated, April 8, 2011


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cominform in Taiwan’s Press: many Cents

Advertorials placed in the press by Taiwan’s government on all levels blurred relations between the media and the government, and were becoming the main source of revenue for media, former (Chinese-language) China Times senior editor Dennis Huang (黃哲斌) warns. Huang resigned his post with the paper last month, the Taipei Times wrote on Tuesday.

China reportedly adopted the practise, too:

Antonio Chiang (江春男), a consultant for the Chinese-language Apple Daily, told a panel at the “Democracy Building in Interesting Times” conference in Taipei that the most serious threat to the independence of the Taiwanese media was advertorials placed by China under the guise of news reports.

Chiang said this phenomenon was a concern because China was willing to put ads in Taiwanese media to promote its image, media outlets that receive funding for such placements then “self-censor” their news coverage to avoid embarrassing or angering Beijing.

A visit by China’s negotiator Chen Yunlin to Taiwan is a less open affair than were certain Soviet propaganda events in non-communist countries during the past decade. Chen travels, smiles, and offers “opportunities”. If he was asked embarrassing questions, the way Soviet delegates and their fellow conferees were during the Waldorf-Astoria “Peace Conference” in New York, in March 1949, one may wonder which Taiwanese papers would cover the event extensively, if at all.

Just as Moscow rallied Western intellectuals to its cause of “peace” in the early days of the Cold War, a Congress for the freedom of the Culture, an organization sponsored by the CIA, rallied Europeans to its agenda. Not every supporter of the Congress was reportedly aware of its funding. Heinrich Böll, for example, is said to haven’t known.

The way China works its way through free societies isn’t harmless. Different from the USSR, it successfully presents itself as a honeypot for business. This is probably the main reason why the question if the CCP is an authoritarian or a totalitarian party isn’t even seriously discussed. The USSR offered barter trade opportunities at best.

But there are parallels between the Cold-War competitions for hearts and minds, and the current one made in China. In 1950, North Korea invaded the South. Soviet efforts to present itself as a power for peace suffered corresponding setbacks. China’s role as an Asian neighbor, beyond its support for Pyongyang, hasn’t looked too peaceful either, since last year. Beijing’s advertorials in the Taiwanese press, which reportedly began to appear in 2008, may be viewed as a game played by China’s propaganda departments and some not-too influential ministries, while the politburo is playing the more defining, and much less appealing game. When facts speak a different language from propaganda, the effect of propaganda itself is hampered.

Media which report about these issues most openly could be seen as more trustworthy than those who treat it as a rather small issue. But what really decides the matter is a judicious readership. If the markets refuses to buy bullshit, you won’t even need legislation. The editors themselves will then become the best guardians of good practise.


Hong Kong: How to Corrupt an Open Society, Aguust 29, 2009

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Updates: Love and Respect, Fifty-Cent Party

Great Expectations


There are such things, say the China Digital Times and the Telegraph.

Either nepotism (Telegraph) or a sense of love and respect for Mao Zedong, transferred to Mao Xinyu, the late helmsman’s grandson, were definitely  a factor in Mao Xinyu’s recent promotion to the rank of a major general.

And there’s such a thing as a wumaodang (Fifty Cent Party), too, if a set of documents currently circulated on the internet are genuine, and the China Digital Times is up to date.


50 Cent Party, Wikipedia

Sunday, April 26, 2009

China Blogs: Losing Steam?

Looking at several China-related blogs, those run for fun or out of a sense of mission as well as those run by media corporations, I’m getting the impression that China-related blogging is losing steam. Declining numbers of comments seem to suggest that. A declining number of posts on the blogs I read most, too.

So does traffic on this blog, although that may be a justrecently-specific case, and no general trend. On a month-to-month basis, clicks on this blog continually rose from April 2008 to August 2008. Oddly, after that (and therefore past the Beijing Olympic Games), they rose much more sharply in September, than any time before. After September, the graph took almost the same shape as from April 08 to August 08 – but on a level about four times as high as during spring and summer.

February this year marked the peak. March was about as good as December, and a rough estimate suggests that April this year will be as good as November 08.

One of the reasons – if my hunches about blogging activities are correct – could be that most bloggers and commenters feel that they have said everything they wanted to say.

Then there is the more general picture, beyond China- and CNN-related blogging. Tai De, who writes about quite different topics, tells me that his clicks rose slowly from October 08 until November 08, had a small dent in December, then rose sharply in January and February, and have been stable during March and April (still slightly rising in March).

That could be logical. I guess that my blog is read by people who are in some kind of business, while more of his readers, with an interest in Turkey and the Middle East, are people from non-commercial trades. They may be teachers, theologicans, and so on – people whose jobs are much less affected by the gobal economic crisis than people with China-related jobs. In short, there is less time left than before to read blogs – especially from an office computer. Those who are still there, may now be much more busy with spreadsheets, than with the internet.

More general blogging numbers from WordPress (my random pick – I had no look at November, December, or February) …

October 08January 09March 09

… and Justrecently’s little calculations on those general WP stats…

Per Blog October 08 January 09 March 09
Per blog Per blog Per blog
Comments 6,25 6,39 7,98
Pageviews 1.287,49 1.470,04 2.077,09

Posts per blog 11,70 13,67 18,90
Words per blog 830,92 943,50 1.309,54

As you can see from the respective monthly wrap-ups yourself, the number of active blogs was 1,418,933 in October 08; 1,373,108 in January 09; and 1,111,892 in March 09.

And of course, there are some footnotes to every criterion mentioned above – you can read them up under the October, January and March WordPress links above the table, too.

So, if I got all that right, the general trend with WordPress blogs is that

  • the absolute number of active blogs is slightly, but continuously declining
  • he remaining active blogs become more active in terms of comments,
  • in terms of pageviews (strongly so)
  • in terms of posts per blog (also strongly)

The following are the WordPress and Justrecently graphs, respectively …

Wordpress, average number of posts per blog

WORDPRESS, average number of posts per blog

Justrecently's Blog, number of posts per month

JUSTRECENTLY, number of posts

Wordpress, average monthly number of pageviews per blog

WORDPRESS, average number of pageviews per blog

Justrecently, number of pageviews per month

JUSTRECENTLY, number of pageviews

Wordpress, average number of comments per blog

WORDPRESS, average number of comments per blog

Justrecently's Blog, number of comments

JUSTRECENTLY, number of comments

Justrecently’s absolute numbers are higher than the average ones, all the way – the graphs are meant to depict the trends only.

If this blog’s traffic trends are more or less typical of the average China-related blog, this would suggest that China is no longer as hot a topic as last year. It would also suggest that some or many Fifty-Cent-Party jobs are in danger, just as many real-economy ones. China’s stimulus plans to date mention infrastructure, the countryside, the textile industry etc., but not the Wumaodang.

But granted, the basis of this little all-but-powerpoint presentation is rather narrow in that it only counts WordPress stats, and JR’s. Besides, hadn’t WordPress blogs (apparently) become accessible from mainland China, this blog would probably have seen a bigger decline in pageviews.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How Real (and effective) is the Fifty-Cent-Party?

I hadn’t seen anything that might count as real evidence before. (Maybe that is because I didn’t pay much attention to the theory anyway.) But Michael Bristow of the BBC quoted an official paper four days ago, and that looks somewhat more substantial. According to Bristow’s article, local authorities started hiring commenters some years ago as they could no longer rely on Beijing to censor every piece of unfavorable information on the internet, especially about rather local incidents or quarrels.

A document released by the public security bureau in the city of Jiaozuo in Henan province boasts of the success of this approach. It retells the story of one disgruntled citizen who posted an unfavourable comment about the police on a website after being punished for a traffic offence. One of the bureau’s internet commentators reported this posting to the authorities within 10 minutes of it going up.

The bureau then began to spin, using more than 120 people to post their own comments that neatly shifted the debate. “Twenty minutes later, most postings supported the police – in fact many internet users began to condemn the original commentator,” said the report.

It’s not unlikely that the story of the Fifty-Cent Party (五毛党) started on domestic Chinese commenter threads. If this propaganda tool is real, more evidence will probably emerge within the coming months.

If such a tool seems to be effective to the Chinese Communist Party, I have no doubt they are making use of it. Twisting propaganda is an unpleasant tool, but has probably been operated by many agencies in the past and presence. German author Heinrich Böll was under the influence or even worked for the “Congress for the Freedom of the Culture” – that’s what this website suggests anyway, and I’ve heard about that on German TV before, too. You may suggest agents and moles in every place which is about power and money, if you are leery by nature.

Fifty-Cent Party has become a handy cuss in commenter threads concerning China. I’m still wondering if it takes fifty cents (or any bonus) for commenting in favor of the CCP. (It may however increase a sense of helplessness.) I suppose that at least on international websites, many comments by ethnic or national Chinese that promote Beijing’s views may be the result of successful indoctrination during the time they lived in mainland China. Even ethnic Chinese with foreign passports may have felt frustrated this year, during the sometimes messy Olympic torch rallye. And culture shocks or a feeling of alienation may also drive pro-Beijing commenters (even people without any Chinese backgrounds of themselves).

As for such comments on international websites, I think we should be aware of the possibility that some commenters are in fact paid commenters. But I doubt you can usually identify them as such, or only very rarely. And really, I don’t think that it really matters all that much. What matters is the power of the points a commenter makes. Propaganda can be effective to some extent, but it can’t reverse the effects of failed policies, and it can’t sell bad products in the long run. An argumentation is either convincing, or it is not. Education, open-mindedness and freedom of information, rather than propagandistic training, are the key factors. Personally, I believe that a story is either well-researched and well-told and draws a crowd, or it sucks. Most of we might think of as Fifty-Cent-Party content  sucks, because it comes across as defensive, mortified, and dogmatic.

It makes no sense to accuse any commenter of being a paid one without good evidence (see comment number 8 there). Ricelee (comment number 7 there) could retort an “Epoch Times” allegation (which wouldn’t be flattering either, and just as pointless).

How effective would a Fifty-Cent-party tool be on domestic websites within China, as described with the Jiaozuo Police example? I’m not sure – but I believe that most Chinese readers can sense the smell immediately, and if they aren’t great friends of the Communist Party, I doubt that the deluge of comments in favor of the police has had the desired effect on them. [update insertion: (It may however increase a sense of helplessness of the initial, critical commenters.) ]

So, no matter if the Fifty-Cent Party is real or not, I don’t think it will become a decisive propaganda tool.

%d bloggers like this: