2018-02-15 09:14:49

Just in time to add to the Spring Festival holiday spirit, China’s internet authorities announced the start of this year’s “top 100 online positive energy” selection, a massive online campaign to pick 2017’s most heart-warming or ideologically sound stories, photos, and people.

The selection process will take months, and the end result will be five lists of 100 role models, articles, images, audiovisual content, and “thematic events.”

The “Five 100s” campaign officially started on Feb. 7, but many news outlets published related stories just before the lunar new year, which starts on Friday. The event is organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s internet regulator.

Last year’s campaign started in January, involved some 150 million net user votes, and finished in September, when the results were announced. Everyone could nominate contestants. Winners were mostly positive news stories or those that focused on politically important events, such as 2016’s G20 summit in Hangzhou, eastern China.

One of last year’s winning “‘Top 100’ Online Positive Energy Pictures” was a widely-circulated photo of a newlywed couple who worked as a border soldier and a train conductor, and who during 2016’s Spring Festival could only spend half an hour together on a train platform in southern China’s Guangdong province. Another set of winning photos show a 24-hour bookstore in the eastern city Hefei that offers shelter to homeless people.

The top role models included Yu Guanghua, who created an animated video that explained how the Communist Party battles corruption, and Zhang Siyao, a cyber police officer in the southwestern city of Chongqing, who posted articles online to dispel rumors and warn against common online scams.

In an effort to create a “healthy” online environment, China’s cyberauthorities forbid the dissemination of sexual, obscene, or otherwise unsavory material. Content that runs afoul of such regulations are frequently taken offline. On Monday, over a dozen of live-streaming platforms were shut down for violating China’s Cybersecurity Law. MC Tianyou, a popular self-broadcasting rapper, was blocked from all online platforms because he sings about drugs in one of his songs.

China Youth Daily, the newspaper of the Communist Youth League, commented that the “Five 100s” selection is not meant to put particular people on a pedestal, but, through the selection process, “build an online environment that is in line with the interests of the people.” The “Five 100s,” it concludes, make everyone “come together to raise more powerful positive energy, and jointly write the next chapter in the historic online journey of a powerful county.”

Editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.

(Header image: Yu Min/VCG)