China's astroturf army

The Chinese Communist Party has reportedly raised a "50-Cent Army" of astroturfers who are paid RMB0.50 for each patriotic, pro-Chinese comment they post on blogs and social media sites. Some estimates have the size of the army at 300,000 people.

Comments, rumours and opinions can be quickly spread between internet groups in a way that makes it hard for the government to censor.

So instead of just trying to prevent people from having their say, the government is also attempting to change they way they think.

To do this, they use specially trained – and ideologically sound – internet commentators.

They have been dubbed the "50-cent party" because of how much they are reputed to be paid for each positive posting (50 Chinese cents; $0.07; £0.05).

China's internet 'spin doctors'

(Thanks, Paula!)