Beim Citizenlab geht man anlässlich eines Artikels der britischen BBC der Frage nach, woher die Zahl der 30’000 chinesischen Internetpolizisten wohl kommt, und kommt zu folgendem Ergebnis: 30,000 Internet Police in China Myth, Please Not Again!
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Nearly two years after the “30,000″ myth was exposed it is still being repeated by reputable news media.
I searched LexisNexis (and Googled) and collected articles that discussed Internet police in China and those that specifically stated the magic 30,000 number. The earliest reference I can find (if you have an earlier one, please send it to me) is an Ethan Gutmann article in The Weekly Standard 02/15/2002
Although it was widely rumored in Beijing that up to 30,000 state security employees were monitoring the Internet in that city alone, the monitoring was also laughed at.
Note that it states it is a rumor and that it was in Beijing, not all of China. Following that, on the 27th of February 2002, Amnesty International releases a report which states:
30,000 state security personnel are reportedly monitoring websites, chat rooms and private e-mail messages.
Rumored has turned in to reportedly, but at least there is a qualifier. But by the 25th of August 2002 the LA Times dropped the modifier:
More than 30,000 state security employees are currently conducting surveillance of Web sites, chat rooms and private e-mail messages–including those sent from home computers.
On November 7, 2002 the Washinton Post decides to leave out the “rumored” and “laughed at” part:
But Beijing, with 30,000 “Internet police,” has acted swiftly to clamp down on dissent through the ethers.
And so it begins.
Es geht noch weiter, und Analyse und Linkfülle sind sehr interessant zu verfolgen. (Wir hatten die 30000 bestimmt auch mal unkritisch rezipiert, verbreitet und die Zahl nicht selbst geprüft.)