BBC Chinese recently reported that the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security officially recognized a new career category called Internet Public Opinion Analyst and has started to issue certificates. These analysts are expected to collect netizens’ viewpoints and attitudes and then to come up with reports for government decision makers. It is estimated that there are around two million people currently performing this type of work in China. Some experts described it as “browsing the web for leaders.” The announcement triggered a widespread discussion on the Internet and many netizens called the new position “Professional 50-Cent Party Members.” [Editor’s note: It is well known that the Chinese government secretly pays people 50 cents per posting to post pro-government comments on the Internet. These people are considered members of the “50-Cent Party.”] Government experts suggested that the new job category is a direct result of the Internet’s impact on media that is traditionally government controlled.
Source: BBC Chinese, October 4, 2013