Latest Directives From the Ministry of Truth, November 10-21, 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.

One week after the Shanghai fire

November 21, 2010

From the Office of Information of the State Council: Regarding first week remembrances of the Shanghai fire, all media outlets and websites are not to put them in prominent positions.

[News Summary: At 2:00 pm on the 15th of November, 2010, a multi-story residential building in Shanghai at the intersection of Yutao and Jiaozhou Roads experienced a major fire.  According to officially released figures from the CCP as of November 21, 58 people have been reported killed and more than 100 injured.  November 21, 2010 is the seventh day after this tragedy, and is thus called “the first week” (Tr: literally, “the first seven”).  Among Chinese people, this is traditionally a day for giving offerings [of mourning, remembrance, etc.]
上海大火头七
国务院新闻办:各媒体网站关于上海大火头七的悼念,一律不上显著位置

【新闻简介:2010年11月15日14时,上海余姚路&胶州路高层住宅发生重大火灾。据中共官方公布,截至2010年11月21日,已有58人遇难,100多人受伤。2010年11月21日是遇难日之后第七天,简称“头七”,是中国民间传统致祭日】


“A Factual Investigation of the Shanghai Fire”
November 21, 2010
From the Propaganda Bureau of Shanghai: Because it published the story “A Factual Investigation of the Shanghai Fire,” withdraw current issues of the periodical China Management Report (Zhongguo jingying bao).
[News Summary: “A Factual Investigation of the Shanghai Fire: Who Was Responsible for the Subcontracting ‘Confusion’?”  Source: China Management Report, on China Management Online (Zhongguo jingying wang), accessed: November 20, 2010, 11:14 am.   Authors: Ye Wentian, He Yong]
上海大火真相调查
上海市委宣传部:因刊出上海大火真相调查,收回本期所有《中国经营报》

【新闻简介:上海大火真相调查:“惑”起分包谁主佳艺?来源:中国经营报-中国经营网 时间: 2010-11-20 11:14 作者:叶文添、何勇 】

November 15, 2010
From the Party Committee Propaganda Bureau of the city of Shanghai: Do not publicize or hype [the fire.] Television stations and Internet sites are no longer do live reporting on it. It is permissible to report with reduced facts, using the framework issued by the city Party Committee Propaganda Bureau as the standard.
[News Summary: At 2:00 pm on the 15th of November, 2010, a tall multi-story apartment building at Yutao Road and Jiaozhou Road in Shanghai caught fire. A large number of retired teachers lived inside the building. The fire started between the 10th and 12th floors, and lasted for more than three hours. Several tens of people were killed, and several tens more suffered injuries.]
上海火灾
上海市委宣传部:不宣传不炒作,电视网络不再直播。可减报事实,以市委宣传部的口径为准。

【新闻简介:2010年11月15日14时,上海余姚路胶州路一栋高层公寓起火,公寓内住着不少退休教师,起火点位于10-12层之间,大火持续了3个多小时,导致数十人遇难,数十人受伤】

Asian Games Security Guard Beats a Reporter

November 20, 2010

From the Guangdong Provincial and Guangzhou City Propaganda Bureaus: “In order to show a harmonious society (hexie shehui) and a passionate Asian Games in Guangzhou, no media outlet is allowed to report on the beating of a reporter by a security guard.”  Violators will face stiff penalties!
亚运安保殴打记者
广东省、广州市两级宣传部:"为体现和谐社会,激情亚运,对于安保殴打记者一事,任何媒体不得报道"。违者重罚!

Xu Aimin, Party Secretary of Jingdezhen

November 18, 2010

It is forbidden to report on the incident of Xu Aimin, Party Secretary of Jingdezhen, being designated a “master ceramicist.”

[News Summary: On November 10, at the public unveiling of the selection of “the Chinese Master Ceramicists of 2010,” jointly held by the Chinese Light Industry Federation and the Chinese Ceramics Industry Association, the Party Secretary of Jingdezhen, Xu Aimin, was among the ranks of “master ceramicists.”  Many waves of reaction followed in the wake of the public unveiling of the selected ceramicists.  After many postings by Chinese netizens called the selection into question, the scholar Wang Hongwei, a sociologist and cultural geographer who has recently laid particular emphasis on research into ancient ceramic cultures, issued a public challenge, stating that the “[selection] procedure did not follow the rules.”]

德镇市委书记许爱民

禁止报道景德镇市委书记许爱民评为“陶瓷艺术大师”一事

【新闻简介:11月10日,由中国轻工业联合会和中国陶瓷工业协会联合举办的“2010第二届中国陶瓷艺术大师”评选结果公示,江西省景德镇市 委书记许爱民在列。公示结果引发千层浪。在许多网民跟帖质疑之后,社会学博士、文化地理学博士后、近年侧重古陶瓷文化研究的学者王洪伟公开质疑“程序不合 法”】
Guo Jingjing
November 16, 2010
All websites are to conduct internal searches in order to find articles containing revealing pictures of [Olympic champion diver] Guo Jingjing.  All of these articles are to be deleted, on penalty of strict prosecution and punishment.
郭晶晶
各网站自查,发现有郭晶晶三点透视照片的文章,一律删除,否则严令查处。

Zhang Hongliang
November 12, 2010
All websites are to delete videos and illustrated texts by Zhang Hongliang entitled: “Before the Sea Change: Analysis of Current Domestic and Foreign Conditions.”
张宏良

请网站删除张宏良的“巨变前夜 当前国内外形势分析”的视频及图文。
Shen Qinghua, Secretary of the Discipline Committee of Linfen
November 12, 2010
It is not permitted to report on Shen Qinghua, Secretary of the Discipline Committee of the city of Linfen (Shanxi).
[News Summary: When a certain Public Security Bureau director went to restore organizational relations with Shen Qinghua, Secretary of the Discipline Committee of the city of Linfen (Shanxi), Shen ordered him to get lost.  Websites have spread the news that two years ago he exchanged five luxury cars, used funds obtained from a criminal case to luxuriously redecorate his office, and kept long-term rental for sexual liaisons with prostitutes.]
临汾纪委书记沈庆华

不准报道临汾纪委书记沈庆华的事
【新闻简介:临汾纪委书记沈庆华在某公安局长去找他恢复组织关系时,他让人家滚出去,网传他两年换五部豪车、用办案所得小金库豪华装修办公室、宾馆长期包房嫖娼搞男女关系等】
The Zhao Lianhai Case
November 12, 2010
From the Internet Management Office: All websites, including online forums, blogs, and micro-blogs, are not to hype the “Zhao Lianhai case.”
赵连海案
网管办:所有网站包括论坛博客微博不得炒作“赵连海案。”

Fan Meizhong

November 11, 2010

All websites are to take down Fan Meizhong’s (Fan Paopao) “These Two Years of Mine,” and delete it from the front pages of online forums.

范美忠

各网站速将范美忠(范跑跑)的《我的这两年》帖文下沉,撤出论坛首页。

Jianzhu University in Shandong

November 10, 2010

From the Internet Management Office: Regarding the self-autonomy agreement signed between Shandong Jianzhu University and students, websites are not to report.  Online forums and blogs are not to discuss it, and already extant reports and discussions must be deleted.

山东建大

网管办 : 有关山东建大和学生签订自律协议事,网站不报道,论坛、博客不讨论,已有的要删除。

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 nickname 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.