People who are allegedly and secretly paid five mao (50 cents RMB) per post/comment that praises, supports, or defends from criticism/attack the country, government, or Communist Party. Netizens who are very nationalistic are often accused of being part of the “50 cent party” spreading propaganda or “guiding” public opinion.
So, with that context, I really enjoyed this (translated) sharp, satirical post from Chinese writer and blogger Han Han:
Moreover, if [Party members] perform well on microblogs, the authorities may notice and ask them to use their cell phones to guide public opinion moment by moment. To them, this is a disaster: at first it was 10 cents for one post, and that was good, but sending a text message to influence [public opinion] costs ten cents, plus there’s the cost of electricity for charging their phones, anyway they’re losing a little bit of money. Don’t ridicule them, they sell themselves for one mao, for a thousand kuai they would sell a kidney; to them, a little money is still money.
It’s part of this whole tongue-in-cheek riff about Fifty Cent Party members doing their job too well—a fun, strange insight into the Chinese internet.
One of my favorite things about the chinaSMACK approach is that they always translate a bunch of the comments, too. Of course, right? Brilliant! Check it out.