Latest Directives from the Ministry of Truth: April 22 – April 30, 2010

The Chinese blog Ministry of Truth has compiled a number of recent orders issued by various propaganda departments over news reporting of recent events. Translated by CDT:

April 30th, 2010

All websites: News regarding killings of students should all be deleted or obscured. Related information should not appear on front pages. Forums and blogs are not to discuss it! This order must be fully executed.

Directive: No longer report “The Deputy General Consul of the PRC Consulate in Houston Yu Boren was arrested by Local Police“; don’t hype the “South Korean Cheonan Incident,” avoiding elements relating to us; keep low-key the handling of the RMB exchange rate; do not report “adjusting exchange rate under US pressure.”

Urgent order:

1. Regarding the campus killing and violence incidents, in order to prevent public panic and some extremists from imitating after large-scale propagation [the news], no reporting or commentary in any form for any of those incidents. For reports already published about Fujian and Leizhou, all reports should be deleted on the Internet.
2. In reporting the central committee leaders coming to the World Expo, all media need to use reports from Xinhua or other central committee media; no other media should do its own reporting; no following or stopping leaders for interviews allowed.
3. Media should not follow the western media in criticizing the World Expo, such as over its excessive costs, that it’s causing housing prices to rise etc…. About the copyrights-related issue, only report according to authorized departments’ explanations.
4, For the opening ceremony, strictly execute according to the plan issued ahead of the event. Strictly forbid any dissenting voices
questioning [the event]. If there is a sudden event, do not report on your own; only report according to unified requirements.

April 30th, 2010


April 29th, 2010
For the story on the stabbings at the kindergarten in Taixing, only use copy from the Central Party and Jiangsu Party media. Clamp down on commentaries.

The Provincial Propaganda Bureau of Guangdong has issued a prohibition to media outlets in the province regarding the case of killings in Leizhou: Do not send reporters for interviews. Do not make comments or hyperlinks. Do not put it on the highlights section or on the front page. Do not give it a large title. Do not attach photos.

April 29th, 2010

April 28th, 2010
It is forbidden to hype content related to the draft revision of the State Secrets Law, which clarifies for the Internet the collaboration required in investigations of leaked state secrets. Close news comment spaces, and related articles on forum postings are all to be deleted.

State Secrets Law, Draft Revision, Clause #26: When public safety agencies, national security agencies, and the National Bureau for State Secret Administration and Control, following legal regulations, open investigations into cases of leaked or stolen secrets, Internet and telecommunications providers and service companies will provide [these agencies with] their technology support and daily records.

Be advised: Replace the story titled “Newsroom Director and Editor-in-Chief at Guangdong Television Jumps to His Death; Financial Problems Suspected” with the following: “Assistant Newsroom Director and Editor-in-Chief at Guangdong Television Jumps to His Death; Tentatively Confirmed as Suicide; Perhaps Caused by Anxiety Disorder.”

April 28th, 2010
提示:请将《广东电视台总编室主任跳楼身亡 或涉财务问题》(福州新闻网)一稿,替换成《广东电视台总编室副主任跳楼死亡:初步认定自杀 或因焦虑症所致》

April 26th, 2010
Delete content related to a creature called the “chalk fox.”

Background information: “‘The chalk fox.’ This fox steals blackboards for its livelihood. It causes problems because all blackboards scrawled with chalk taken by this fox cannot be used as blackboards anymore. Natural enemy: an eraser. Lethal weapon: chalk. Victim:schoolchildren. Pet phrase: “The new fox will come.” Temperament: anxious. It specifically worries about the Chalk fox of next term and its own work being erased. [Editor’s note: This is a reference to a visit by Hu Jintao to a local school in the area of Qinghai devastated by the recent earthquake, during which he wrote a message to students and teachers on a chalkboard. The school later saved the chalkboard as a memento.]

In order to prevent fallout, Writers Associations at the provincial and city level are hereby ordered to temporarily cease accepting the resignation of members, and from issuing related opinions. (Background: Author Zheng Yuanjie announced that he is resigning from the Chinese Writers Association)

From now on, the word “Google,” “guge,” and related words cannot appear in published materials, nor can there be books designed with Google technology.

Do not hype the story “Zheng Yuanjie Resigns From the Chinese Writers Association.”

In anticipation of heated news about the Shanghai World expo, screen out all negative reports.

April 26th, 2010

April 25th, 2010
Regarding the debate between [Taiwanese politicians] Ma Ying-jeou and Tsai Ing-wen, do not overly quote what Tsai Ing-wen says.

1. Cool down disaster relief reports, speedily heat up Shanghai World Expo reports.
2. Give careful reports in Yushu regarding collapsed earthen homes, problems with the quality of school structures, and problems with antiseptic solutions for preventing disease.

April 25th, 2010

April 23rd, 2010
In keeping with the idea of saving the excitement until after the opening ceremonies, during the rehearsal period do not issue reports without permission regarding the content of World Expo pavilions and exhibitions. With the exception of designated media outlets, all other media outlets are to use copy circulated from the Xinhua News Agency.

Regarding tonight’s announcement of the change in leadership in Xinjiang, at the appointed time close news comment spaces, and at the same time pay attention to the nature of posts on online forums. If there are personal attacks, malicious criticisms, etc., delete them. Please execute.

April 23rd, 2010

April 22nd, 2010
The Central Propaganda Bureau has issued an order not to publish Yan Lieshan’s “The Netizen slander case: a premise for a non-established judgment.”

April 22nd, 2010

Read more about the “Ministry of Truth” via CDT:

In China, several political bodies are in charge of Internet content control. At the highest level, there is the Central Propaganda Department, which ensures that media and cultural content follows the official line as mandated by the CCP. Then there is the State Council Information Office (SCIO), which has established “Internet Affairs Bureau” to oversee all Websites that publish news, including the official sites of news organizations as well as independent sites that post news content.

This “Internet Affairs Bureau,” sent out very specific instructions to all large news websites daily, and often multiple times per day. Those instructions do not always mean that related contents are completely banned online, but they instruct websites to highlight or suppress certain type of opinions or information in a very detailed manner.

Chinese journalists and bloggers often refer to those instructions, as well as other type of censorship orders to media and websites, as “Directives from the Ministry of Truth.” The Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue, in Newspeak) is one of the four ministries that govern Oceania in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the Chinese blogosphere, it is the online lingo for the Central Propaganda Department and generally speaking, all other subordinate propaganda agencies including Internet supervision departments.

Today, it’s been said that news does not break, it tweets. For the officials in the the Ministry of Truth, the news is that their supposedly confidential instructions get tweeted as well.