Latest Directives from the Ministry of Truth: June 2-June 18, 2010

The following examples of censorship instructions, issued to the media and/or Internet companies by various central (and sometimes local) government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. Chinese journalists and bloggers often refer to those instructions as “Directives from the Ministry of Truth.”  CDT has collected the selections we translate here from a variety of sources and has checked them against official Chinese media reports to confirm their implementation.

Two Directives for Reportage on Society News

June 2, 2010

Do not report news regarding on keeping in good health. If you do report, you must use interviews with appointed specialists from the Department of Health, and use reporting formats specified by the Central Propaganda Bureau.

Do not give general reports on public expenditures for the Shanghai World Expo. Do not report on visits by petitioners, but do report on the vulgar (bu wenming) behavior of tourists.


June 3, 2010

On June 3 a suspect carrying a gun opened fire in the Baiyun district of Guangzhou, injuring a police officer before being shot dead. All media outlets must strictly follow and publish copy circulated from the city public security bureau. Do not make any other reports, water down the event, and do not put the story on the front page or in the recommendation index.


To all Internet sites: Clean up “harmful content related to Party and national leaders”
June 9, 2010

Currently, the transmission and dispersal of harmful doggerel regarding Party and national leaders is fairly serious. According to the indicated demand, each website must initiate inspection and management of harmful information related to central government leaders. Related demands are as follows: each website must organize specialized efforts to take on this task of initiating inspection and management of related information on the Internet.



June 14, 2010

Delete the report dated June 12 from Jinling Evening News regarding the Ma’anshan incident


June 18, 2010

It is not allowed to use the pretext of reporting on the World Cup to make fun of Chinese football


June 18, 2010

Do not report and do not follow domestic strike incidents


Regarding strike incidents occurring domestically: do not report, do not hype, do not re-publish other reports, do not follow.


June 18, 2010

Do not report the story “Cheating on the gaokao via cell phone”
Be advised:
1) Neither republish content nor do independent interviews, reporting, or commentary regarding the story published in China Youth Daily about the student from No. 2 middle school in Zijin county who cheated during the gaokao [college entrance examinations] via his cell phone
2) The shareholders’ meeting of Shenzhen Hongkai Group 深鸿基 to be held on June 18 might cause a large-scale incident. Do not hype the large financial compensation owed by Shenshen Hongkai; do not report on information obtained from unofficial channels.

June 18, 2010

With the fourth stage of the gaokao complete, we send the following directive

Do not report on the story, “Guangdong investigates cell phone cheating incident from no. 2 middle school in Zijin.”

It is forbidden to report on the Dalai Lama’s visit to Japan
June 18, 2010
It is forbidden to report on the Dalai Lama’s visit to Japan. At all times, delete related provocative opinions.

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.