News Web Sites and Weibos Censor Story on One School's "Internet Red Army"

Deleted Southern Metropolitan
Daily Story on "Internet Red Army"

On March 19, 2013, the state-sponsored Southern Metropolitan Daily published an article entitled "Baiyun Institute Establishes 'Internet Red Army' to Monitor Students' Weibos, Report Public Sentiment and Block Incorrect Public Opinion, Participants Earn 200 Yuan a Month" (白云学院组建“网络红军”监控学生微博 汇报舆情抵制错误舆论,兼职学生每人每月200多元报酬). Some excerpts:
At the end of 2010, the Baiyun Institute established an "Internet Public Opinion Information Oversight Working Group" which, according to a description by a school official, was intended to address the new problems the school was having with controlling public sentiment on campus, the proliferation of all kinds of harmful information, and the new challenges to students' political ideology work and school security and safety brought about by the rise of Weibos. The Baiyun Institute therefore established 116 Weibo groups and a "Baiyun Red Army" QQ group, which over the last three years has responded to various Internet information with over 100,000 posts.
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Currently the "Baiyun Red Army" is composed of nine full-time faculty and six part-time students, with the students coming from six of the schools institutes. New members must be recommended by senior members, and pass an interview with the school and other qualifications.
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The criteria for getting a position on the Working Group include "First, having good grades, and second a firm political ideology position." Huang Yumei said "Participating student must have a very firm viewpoint, otherwise, when they run into certain negative situations, if they also approve of the circumstances, they won't be able to speak reasonably on behalf of the school, and that would simply make them unsuited for requirement of this position."
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The work of overseeing Internet public sentiment requires the "Baiyun Red Army" members to sift through an enormous amount of information and provide timely reports. Currently the scope of their oversight encompasses 116 Weibo groups associated with the Baiyun Institute as well as the personal Weibos of certain students.
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With respect to hot topics that become the focus of student attention, the "Red Army Soldiers" will search Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, and Baidu PostBar for keywords, and every Friday afternoon summarize the public sentiment information in a report, which they provide to the school.
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"We use public sentiment oversight to understand how students are thinking, and when there is something that needs improvement, for example issues with food quality in the cafeterias, after we become of aware of it we fix it in a timely manner." Huang Yumei said that, with respect to negative statements about the school on Baidu PostBar, the "Red Army Soldiers" will make a response as soon as its discovered, "safeguarding the school's image is our responsibility and our duty."
2010年末,广东白云学院组建“学生工作网络舆情信息监控小组”,学校相关负责人介绍,微博的出现给校园舆情控制带来新课题,各种不良信息满天飞,给学生思想政治工作和校园安全稳定带来了新的挑战。为此,白云学院先后创建了116个微博群和“白云红军”Q Q工作群,3年来总计回复各项网络信息10万余条。
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This screenshot was taken on March 22, and shows that the story had been deleted from the Southern Metropolitan Daily's web site.

Original URL:

On March 20, 2013, the state-sponsored Yancheng Evening News published an article entitled "Guangdong's Baiyun Institute Creates Waves With Its 'Internet Red Army' Overseeing Student Weibos" (广东白云学院“网络红军”监控学生微博掀波澜).

These screenshots were taken on March 22, and show that the story had been deleted from Yangcheng Evening News' web site, as well as from the Sina News web site, where it had been reposted.

Original URLs:

These screenshots were also taken on March 22, and show that both Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo were censoring searches for "Internet Red Army." (网络红军)

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