BEIJING – China's Twitter-like weibo microblogging services have become lively forums for commenting on the events of the day in China's otherwise tightly controlled media landscape. On Thursday, however, the comments about disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai's indictment for alleged corruption, bribe taking and abuse of power were uniformly positive, a likely sign that censors had removed any that criticized the government or voiced support for Bo.
The anonymity of the commentators, their lack of followers, and the echoes of official propaganda sayings in the posts strongly implied they were members of the "fifty cent army," a collection of Internet users paid to sprinkle positive, pro-government messages across the web and social media.
Here's a collection of comments that stood out for being over-the-top in their condemnations of Bo and praise for the ruling Communist Party:
From user "andylau" — "Here we have a grand display of the party Central Committee's determination to fight corruption by both 'swatting the flies and whacking the tigers.' General Secretary Xi, you are truly mighty!"
From "the young gentleman of Shenyang" — "The prosecution of Bo Xilai shows out party has the strength, the guts and the ability to both 'swat flies and whack tigers.' It is iron-clad proof of the party's unswerving determination to strictly govern the party, strictly handle affairs, and enrich the people through the fighting of corruption."
From "greenflowercity" — "Bo Xilai's brazen insubordination can never be tolerated! We're all behind efforts to get to the bottom of his crimes and of those surrounding him."
From "meiguonetizen" — "No matter who you are, no matter how big a deal you are, you break the law, you pay the price."
From "user3549178705" — "Criminal sinner against the people. The punishment is well deserved!"