Who can you trust?

Again, limited blogging time, but this is a fascinating story on China’s universities that recruit students to censor and manipulate Internet chatter, and to inform on “troublemakers.”

To her fellow students, Hu Yingying appears to be a typical undergraduate, plain of dress, quick with a smile and perhaps possessed with a little extra spring in her step, but otherwise decidedly ordinary.
Inside the New China

A four-hour television series and interactive web site by The Times, The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the ZDF network of Germany.
nytimes.com/chinarises »

And for Ms. Hu, a sophomore at Shanghai Normal University, coming across as ordinary is just fine, given the parallel life she leads. For several hours each week she repairs to a little-known on-campus office crammed with computers, where she logs in unsuspected by other students to help police her school’s Internet forums.

Once online, following suggestions from professors or older students, she introduces politically correct or innocuous themes for discussion. Recently, she says, she started a discussion of what celebrities make the best role models, a topic suggested by a professor as appropriate.

Politics, even school politics, is banned on university bulletin boards like these. Ms. Hu says she and her fellow moderators try to steer what they consider negative conversations in a positive direction with well-placed comments of their own. Anything they deem offensive, she says, they report to the school’s Web master for deletion.

During some heated anti-Japanese demonstrations last year, for example, moderators intervened to cool nationalist passions, encouraging students to mute criticisms of Japan.

Part traffic cop, part informer, part discussion moderator — and all without the knowledge of her fellow students — Ms. Hu is a small part of a huge national effort to sanitize the Internet….For her part, Ms. Hu beams with pride over her contribution toward building a “harmonious society.”

Trust no one.

The Discussion: 8 Comments

I wonder if there might be Ms. Hus lurking on message boards and blogs in the US.

May 10, 2006 @ 8:13 am | Comment

For the love of fuck, I have to forward this to one of my friends – he’s still at university !!!!!!!!!!!

May 10, 2006 @ 3:07 pm | Comment

I wonder if there might be Ms. Hus lurking on message boards and blogs in the US.

Posted by: Sonagi

You doubt it?

Do you wonder if the CCP would hire folks working at marketing firms to run blogs to influence the topics the blogosphere discussed?

May 10, 2006 @ 6:37 pm | Comment

Yes, at the end of day she does not realize that the job she is doing has a historical equivalent.
They basically lived with there peers, but got a little better food and treatment.
But at the end of the day, the overseer was still just a slave.

May 10, 2006 @ 8:36 pm | Comment

there = their

May 10, 2006 @ 8:38 pm | Comment

I think there may well be some in US, but should be quite limited. At least I believe the number is much lower than what GWB paid for that matter.

May 10, 2006 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

Actually, I was thinking of Karl Rove’s secret agents of disinformation.

May 11, 2006 @ 9:16 am | Comment


I’m sure there are those that receive their “marching orders” via the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy in the US. And no matter how many times Pat Buchannan criticises Guitar George, he’s still a shill for the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

I’m sure there are also those within the US that act as agents of the CCP. Though the nature of the internet is such that they could be located in China and act as an agent of the CCP on English-language blogs/forums as easily as if they were in the US.

If the Busheviks have MEMRI acting as a filtering mechanism to translate from the Middle East press to butress the Bushevik position on Islamofascism, you can believe that other governments have their own “bridge blogs” to judiciously select articles in order to skew opinion.

May 11, 2006 @ 7:58 pm | Comment

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