Here in the west we often complain about our rights and limits on our individual freedoms. But maybe we should be thanking our lucky stars that we’re not living in China.

The Beijing News has reported that the country employs two million people whose sole job is to monitor the internet activity of its own citizens, who have been criticising the state on private blogs with ever increasing frequency in recent years. The Chinese government has come out in its defense to claim that the monitors aren’t there to censor or delete anybody’s posts, but are simply in the role to gather information – spying in other words.

Tang Xiaotao, interviewed by the paper has been working as a monitor for less than six months, the report says, without revealing to the paper where he works.

“He sits in front of a PC every day, and opening up an application, he types in key words which are specified by clients. He then monitors negative opinions related to the clients, and gathers (them) and compile reports and send them to the clients,” it says.

These two hundred million monitors are part of China’s ever growing ‘internet army’ used to monitor and censor the population of the Asian state, paying particular attention to blogging sites, such as the most popular, Sina Weibo. Launched in 2010, it now has more than 500 million registered users with 100 million messages posted each day.

Topics cover a wide range of issues, from the more personal to also including  politically sensitive issues like official corruption. anything deemed politically incorrect or dangerous is routinely deleted. Something to keep in mind the next time we’re discussing Facebook’s privacy policies? Let us know what you think below

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