The “2.06 million” propaganda workers in Beijing have been told to “make more efforts in opinion guiding on hot topics” on the internet.
The comments came from Lu Wei, Beijing’s propaganda chief, at a meeting on Thursday; just weeks after Beijing appeared to tighten its control over the internet by putting forward new legislation requiring users to register their real names before using internet services.
Lu went on to say that these “hot topics” include “economic trends, price controls, transformation and development, employment, housing, social security [and] income distribution”. Officials were also ordered to “purify” the internet by continuing their “crackdown on harmful and vulgar information”.
The rise in use of the internet in China has seen political leaders, including Xi Jinping, who becomes president in March, take tentative steps into the world of Weibo, which has an estimated 200 million registered users.
Lu said that by expanding its presence on social media sites, the Communist Party would be able to “handle hot topics effectively, strengthen the online mainstream public opinion and improve the ‘ecology’ of online public opinion."
Discussing the China’s equivalent to Twitter, Weibo, Lu said propaganda officials should “browse on Weibo, set up Weibo accounts, send Weibo [messages and] study Weibo”.
Lu added that the propaganda workers, of which 60,000 are directly employed propaganda officials, should step up their online activities and “spread positive energy” across the internet.