BEIJING In order to implement the Beijing Municipal government’s instructions, the Zhongguanyuan Community is now recruiting community stability-maintenance information officers.

Requirements: Must be under 70, healthy, passionate for community construction work, resolutely support the party's leadership, have a strong political sensitivity and be responsible, law-abiding, enthusiastic about public welfare, and familiar with the interpersonal relations as well as the personnel composition of the community’s residents ... reads an announcement posted in one Beijing’s resident blocks and which has been buzzing on China’s web sphere for the last few days.

Hu Jia, a human rights activist in Beijing, told the New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV), a Chinese language broadcaster based in New York, that "the function of these informers has nothing to do with the ordinary public security or social order. They are mainly addressed to people who are dissatisfied with the government, preparing a march or a demonstration, or those envisaging a petition. These things ought to be suppressed right from the source so there comes the necessity of having a massive number of informers."

Chinese authorities have not stopped tightening their grip on their ability to control people.

As the capital city, Beijing has the most developed stability-maintenance information system to assist the authorities for clamping down on dissidents, says Ms. Hu.

"Every time the Lianghui, i.e. the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, or the APEC Summit take place, it’s said that as many as 700,000-800,000 people are mobilized to maintain security and stability. Yet, Beijing has only about 60,000-70,000 police officers. This means the force mainly comes from the so-called stability-maintenance volunteer agents," Ms. Hu says.

Ever since Xi Jinping took over the power, Chinese authorities have not stopped tightening their grip on their ability to control people. Early this year, the government launched a face-recognition system capable of matching a face taken on surveillance camera with a list of wanted suspects.

"Facial recognition sunglasses" — so called due to a pre-loaded suspect database in the glasses — are also being tested and equipped for part of the country’s police force, enabling them to arrest people from their wanted list.

Since China amended its constitution last February to allow Xi Jinping indefinite rule, not only do more and more media in the West bluntly call him an emperor or compare him with Mao Zedong, but also the ever-tightening internet censorship and the new campaign of recruiting civil informers remind a lot of people of the chilling catastrophe of the Cultural Revolution where individuals, including family members, were incited to denounce each other to the party.


See more from World Affairs here