A Chinese newspaper has claimed that more than two million people in China are employed by the government to monitor web activity.
The Beijing News reported that the “internet opinion analysts” are used "strictly to gather and analyse public opinions on microblog sites and compile reports for decision-makers"
It details how the analysts search using keywords specified by ‘clients’, who then monitor negative opinions related to the clients using software which also monitors websites outside China.
The Government is arranging training sessions for the analysts during October, teaching participants how to “analyse and judge online postings and deal with crisis situations”.
“China's internet is one of the most controlled and censored in the world,” said Dong Le of the BBC Chinese Service.
“Websites deemed to be subversive are blocked. Politically sensitive postings are routinely deleted. Even the name of the former Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was censored when rumours were circulating on the internet that his family had amassed a fortune while he was in power.
“The Beijing News, while reporting the story of microblog monitors, has admitted that it is impossible for the government to delete all "undesirable" postings.
“China seldom reveals details about how it monitors and controls the internet. The government even does not acknowledge that it blocks web sites.”