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So, a Guy I Know Works as a Porn Inspector…

What sounds more like the setup of a bad joke is, in fact, a real job in China. And it pays well, too.

So-called “porn inspectors” in China can make up to US$30,000 per year sifting through smut. Some are responsible for viewing and classifying pornographic movies, while others go online to filter and censor images deemed “obscene.”

A group of four censors in Hunan’s Anti-Pornography Department recently had the task of viewing 700 confiscated DVDs within just a few weeks’ time. According to senior inspector Liu Xiaozhen, their job was to classify the content as either pornographic, obscene, or “other.” As these DVDs were the result of a large raid, the classification played a significant role in the prosecution of the distributors. In China, the production and distribution of pornographic material classified as obscene carries a sentence of three years in prison.

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Regarding the esteemed title of “porn inspector,” as you may have guessed, there are applicants coming out of the woodwork for these positions. One job, posted over two years ago on Weibo, ended up getting reposted 125,000 times. Candidates are expected to be familiar with China’s laws on pornography classification and hold a bachelor’s degree.

In a brief Hunan Television interview in 2013, Liu explained how his first days as an inspector were “awkward, my face and ears turned red and my heart skipped a beat.”

Want China Times reports, “In official units, such as the police department, the professional porn inspectors have to meet more stringent conditions—they must be married, just, mentally healthy, persistent to principles, and on call 24 hours a day.”

While it’s uncertain if that actually qualifies as “stringent,” it’s most definitely a start.

In all sincerity, it’s odd that they are paying anyone to do this job in the first place. Anyone that has ever looked inside China’s Internet cafes know that you are all but guaranteed to see (mostly) young men glued to their seats in front of the screen. Sometimes even dying after marathon gaming sessions online. One might argue that they could probably be enlisted to screen porn for free. They clearly seem to have time to spare.