At Chinese universities, secret moderators try to control Internet discussions, reports the New York Times. Hu Yingying, a Shanghai Normal University sophomore, works in a campus office.
Once online, following suggestions from professors or older students, she introduces politically correct or innocuous themes for discussion. Recently, she says, she started a discussion of what celebrities make the best role models, a topic suggested by a professor as appropriate.
Politics, even school politics, is banned on university bulletin boards like these. Hu says she and her fellow moderators try to steer what they consider negative conversations in a positive direction with well-placed comments of their own. Anything they deem offensive, she says, they report to the school’s Web master for deletion.
As many as 50,000 state agents monitor the Internet, reports the Times. Hu is part of a campaign, ostensibly run by volunteers, called “Let the Winds of a Civilized Internet Blow,” which is “part of a broader ‘socialist morality’ campaign, known as the Eight Honors and Disgraces, begun by the country’s leadership to reinforce social and political control.”