China's Web and online activity are found heavily guarded, scrutinized and policed by two million people, according to Beijing News.
Reports claimed these professionally known "public opinion analysts" sit in front of their computers everyday as they do their tasks.
"We input keywords set by clients, monitor negative public opinions about them, compile the information and report them to the clients," Tang Xiaotao, a public opinion analyst for six months, told the paper.
Salaries depend on the experience, according to China Radio Network. A public opinion analyst may receive a monthly salary from 6,000 yuan ($980) to 8,000 yuan ($1,300).
"That would constitute a very respectable income in most parts of China," the Epoch Times said.
A monitoring software used by analysts or organizations for this specific job in China, described as a special "web crawling" software, ranges between 50,000 yuan ($8,000) and as expensive as 3 million yuan ($490,077).
Companies vary in their advertising campaigns to party agencies on how fast they can delete unwanted opinions online. But it was found that some of China's internet police can delete negative opinions in a minute from a time it was posted.
But Xiaotao clarified deleting posts is not the main job of the two million public opinion analysts but merely report negative write-ups to their clients.
"Two million sounds like a big number," David Bandurski, editor of the China Media Project from the University of Hong Kong, told CNN. "But I think it's clear that the government will do what it takes to monitor any potential collective action on social media," he said.
In September, China issued new rules for the netizens' use of Internet. Essentially, libelous comments retweeted or reposted for over 500 times or viewed more than 5,000 times face jail time of up to 3 years. China currently has the world's largest online population with over 500 million Internet users.
"China's biggest engineering project is not the Three Gorges dam, but public opinion and Weibo have completely changed the game," Bandurski said.
Chinese netizens blasted the discovery. "These jobs are funded with taxes, but the work goes against the taxpayer," He Qinglian, a Chinese economic and political commentator, said in a commentary in Voice of America.
"The difference between this and other industries in society is that its purpose is to strengthen political control. The specialty of this industry is that it consumes social wealth, but doesn't create any value."
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