Propaganda Department: A 21-Point Directive On Reporting Olympics

Bob Dietz writes on

An interesting piece, “Screws tighten on mainland journalists,” ran in the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s largest English-language daily. SCMP staff in Beijing spoke with some Chinese reporters recently and they told SCMP of a 21-point directive that came down last month from the Central Propaganda Department. Taboo subjects include everything from seating arrangements for dignitaries at the opening ceremonies, food safety issues, and an outright ban on using any source of information other than the official Xinhua News Agency for Games-related scandals. The standard rules for referring to Taiwan (the acceptable form is “Chinese Taipei” not the Republic of China (Taiwan) were also on the list, but no mainland Chinese reporter really needs to be reminded of that.

A Chinese blogger just posted the full text of the 21 points (in Chinese) on his blog, its translation is already in

The propaganda bureau’s 21-point plan

1. The telecast of sports events will be live [but] in case of emergencies, no print is allowed to report on it.

2. From August 1, most of the previously accessible overseas websites will be unblocked. No coverage is allowed on this development. There’s also no need to use stories published overseas on this matter and [website] operators should not provide any superlinks on their pages.

3. Be careful with religious and ethnic subjects.

4. Don’t make fuss about foreign leaders at the opening ceremony, especially in relation to seat arrangements or their private lives.

5. We have to put special emphasis on ethnic equality. Any perceived racist terms as “black athlete” or “white athlete” is not allowed. During the official telecast, we can refer to Taiwan as “Chinese Taipei”. In ordinary times, refer to Taiwanese athletes as “those from the precious island Taiwan…..” In case of any pro Taiwan-independence related incident inside the venue, you shall follow restrictions listed in item 1.

6. For those ethnic Chinese coaches and athletes who come back to Beijing to compete on behalf of other countries, don’t play up their “patriotism” since that could backfire with their adopted countries.

7. As for the Pro-Tibetan independence and East Turkistan movements, no coverage is allowed. There’s also no need to make fuss about our anti-terrorism efforts.

8. All food safety issues, such as cancer-causing mineral water, is off-limits.

9. In regard to the three protest parks, no interviews and coverage is allowed.

10. No fuss about the rehearsals on August 2,5. No negative comments about the opening ceremony.

11. No mention of the Lai Changxing case.

12. No mention of those who illegally enter China.

13. On international matters, follow the official line. For instance, follow the official propaganda line on the North Korean nuclear issue; be objective when it comes to the Middle East issue and play it down as much as possible; no fuss about the Darfur question; No fuss about UN reform; be careful with Cuba. If any emergency occurs, please report to the foreign ministry.

14. If anything related to territorial dispute happens, make no fuss about it. Play down the Myanmar issue; play down the Takeshima island dispute.

15. Regarding diplomatic ties between China and certain nations, don’t do interviews on your own and don’t use online stories. Instead, adopt Xinhua stories only. Particularly on the Doha round negotiation, US elections, China-Iran co-operation, China-Aussie co-operation, China-Zimbabwe co-operation, China-Paraguay co-operation.

16.Be very careful with TV ratings, only use domestic body’s figures. Play it down when rating goes down.

17. In case of an emergency involving foreign tourists, please follow the official line. If there’s no official line, stay away from it.

18. Re possible subway accidents in the capital, please follow the official line.

19.Be positive on security measures.

20. Be very careful with stock market coverage during the Games.

21.Properly handle coverage of the Chinese sports delegation:

A. Don’t criticise the selection process

B. Don’t overhype gold medals; don’t issue predictions on gold medal numbers; don’t make fuss about cash rewards for athletes.

C. Don’t make a fuss about isolated misconducts by athletes.

D. Enforce the publicity of our anti-doping measures.

E. Put emphasis on government efforts to secure the retirement life of athletes.

F. Keep a cool head on the Chinese performance. Be prepared for possible fluctuations in the medal race.

G. Refrain from publishing opinion pieces at odds with the official propaganda line of the Chinese delegation.








7、藏 独、东 突不报,对反恐不炒作