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China: Challenging the 50 Cent Party

The 50 Cent Party consists of Internet commentators hired either by the Chinese government or the Chinese Communist Party to shape online public opinion. Often, the 50 Cent Party labels critical opinion leaders as traitors of the country.

On February 26, 2012, Sina Weibo user Zhang Nong decided to openly challenge [zh] the 50 Cent Party with the following post and photo:


[Can we call this patriotic?] When society is flooded with corruption, you don't criticize; when the rich and powerful are out of control, you don't feel angry; you also make no comment on the burden of education; you don't share our pain in the lack of health care; you don't see the suffering of peasants; you don't hear the sorrow of the unemployed; you place no blame on authoritarian rule… However, whenever I criticize all the above problems, you become agitated and call your friends to attack me. This is how you love your country, 50 Cent Gang?

 The image on the right is a remix of the communist movement symbol, the hammer and sickle. Zhang turned the weapon for social revolution into the Arabic number “5”, representing the 50 Cent Party. The thread where this was published so far has been shared more than 1,800 times and attracted 560 comments.

The majority express support for Zhang, while some readers have typically tried to fight back:


黑桃老K2011:This flag can be used to cover the 50-Centers’ coffins after they die.

10小牛直面改革:就冲这句话 把张农粉了,我上微博,就没闹明白,为什么有那么多人不论是非的爱国。是自己国家的无论多么邪恶都是好,别人国家什么最好的自由民主都是假的。这样宣传有意义吗?

10小牛直面改革:I've become a fan of Zhang's because of this post. I don't understand why so many people support the country without distinguishing right from wrong: ‘No matter how evil my country is, it is good; no matter how free and democratic other country is, they are fake.’ Does such propaganda make any sense at all?


I我相信:The 50 Cent Party is the product of Chinese society. They are born because the rich and the powerful need them to justify crony capitalism and exploit ordinary people. In the past, I also cursed the 50-centers, but now I find such reaction too naive; they are just the by-product of the corrupted social system. We can't blame them.


随心所意随心动:50 Cents’ slogan: Act according to the party's instruction.

我爱-F1:良知不在我身上,誓与党国共存亡。 (3月1日 12:11)

我爱-F1:You won't find conscience in me, it depends both on the survival and demise of the Party.


Soros1981:Some of them are 50-centers. However, a lot more are those born under the existing system. They don't have any sense and have yet to be enlightened. History takes time to reveal itself.


怀化学院张洪华:It is impossible to find so many 50-centers in this world. They are just being brainwashed and haven't been awakened. For example, I always argue with my roommates, 5-6 of them. They are not 50-centers and I am not leading the way to change. They like to quote from books about different stages of development and China context. When I said such kind of dictatorship is equal to banditry, they would sometimes reply: so what? they are legal bandits. I can only say, let's talk about it 10 or 20 years later.


蕓隨風飄:Ai: When you start to understand this country, you are already on the path toward crime.

林岳芳: 【有你这样卖国的吗?】高楼之多,你不赞;道路之宽,你不夸;科技之威,你不管;城市之美,你不见;农家之乐,你无视;民众之欢,你不闻;人性之恶,你不责…可每每神州大地出现一点问题,你不顾客观事实,放大个案打击一片,你们上蹿下跳呼朋引伴围剿谩骂,大小西奴们,你们就为了卖国吗?

林岳芳: [People really betray their country like this?] You don't praise the large number of high-rise buildings; You don't boast about the wide concrete roads; you care nothing about the progress of our technology; you don't see the beauty of the cities; you don't see the happiness of the farmers; you don't hear the laugher of the people; you don't criticize the dark side of human mind… whenever a tiny problem occurs in this heavenly land, you don't care about the truth, instead only focus on just one incident to attack the whole country. You jump up and down and call your friends to curse and attack. Western slaves, is this how you sell out your country?

wendySF:5毛旗? 新创作? 真心祝愿五毛世世代代,和他们的子子孙孙都生活在现在这个社会中- 他们口中的美好世界。可别象司马南,骂美国骂得口沫横飞, 却悄悄把妻儿弄到美国生活读书。那真是五毛的精髓。

wendySF:A 50 Cent Party flag? A new creation? I hope that this generation of 50-centers and the ones that follow will forever live in this society which they keep praising. Don't act like Sima Nan, who condemns the U.S. but has smuggled his wife and son to live there. Sima is the essence of the 50 Cent Party.

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