Latest Directives from the Ministry of Truth, November 22-28, 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.

Mingyi Powdered Milk

November 28, 2010

It is not permitted to publish any negative reports regarding Mingyi powdered milk.

[News Summary: Mingyi brand powdered milk has been said to have serious problems in quality.]

明一奶粉

不准发布关于明一奶粉的任何负面报道。

【新闻简介:明一奶粉存在严重质量问题

High Bridge Structure Incident in Nanjing

November 28, 2010

Any reporting on the high bridge structure incident in Nanjing must conform to standards.  Reports cannot be lead stories that guide people to read about it.  Reports cannot use the phrase “large bridge collapse.”  They can only use the phrase “steel structure side turned over.”  For the water pipe break, reports cannot say that it “burst”; they can only say that it “side leaked.”

南京高架桥事件

关于南京高架桥事件报道要规范。不能上头条导读。不能用“大桥坍塌”这个词,只能用“钢架侧翻”。水管裂了不能说“爆裂”,只能说“侧漏”。

Xidan Commercial Street

November 26, 2010

For the incident of a car hitting and injuring people on November 22 on Xidan commercial street in Beijing, news websites are requested to promptly press stories to back pages.  Do not enable user postings to news [about the incident.]  Do not make in-depth or follow-on reports.

西单商业街

北京西单商业街22日发生的汽车撞伤人事件、请新闻网站立即压后台,不开新闻跟帖。不做深入和跟踪报道。

Regarding News Sources

November 24, 2010

From the Propaganda Bureau: We must strengthen professional morals and education.  All news units must diligently verify story leads.  It is forbidden to use postings on the Internet as news sources.

关于新闻来源

宣传部:要加强职业道德教育,各新闻单位对新闻线索来源要认真核实,禁止将网贴作为新闻来源。

First Finance and Economics Weekly

November 24, 2010

From the Internet Management Office: Starting from midnight, November 24, 2010, it is strictly forbidden to reprint any and all content from First Finance and Economics Weekly (Di yi caijing zhoukan).  It is not permitted to make stories related to the content of articles in First Finance and Economics Weekly.

[News Summary: First Finance and Economics Weekly, because it published a story entitled “The World of a Guaranteed Internet,” which directly revealed sensitive material on the nature of ordinary work at the State Council’s Information Office, has provoked an angry burst from the Ministry of Truth.]

《第一财经周刊》

网管办: 从2010年11月24日24:00起,严禁转载《第一财经周刊》的所有内容,不许做与《第一财经周刊》文章内容相关的互动。

【新闻简介:《第一财经周刊》因做了“网络保证书的世界”这个直接揭露国务院新闻办的平时工作内容的敏感题材,与真理部积怨爆发。】

The Zhao Lianhai Case

November 24, 2010

From the Office of Information of the State Council: Delete all reports related to the case of Zhao Lianhai.

[News Summary: Attorney Zhao Lianhai represented babies who developed kidney stones [from tainted powdered milk] and sued.  He was arrested and received a prison sentence.]

赵连海案

国新办: 删除所有赵连海案的报道

【新闻简介:赵连海因代理结石宝宝上诉,而被抓,被判刑】

Yang Shujun

November 23, 2010

When reporting on the Asian Games in Guangzhou, for reports on Yang Shujun, a Taekwondo athlete from Taipei, and the already issued decision to remove her from the competition, for the time being do not make any follow-up reports.

杨淑君

广州亚运的报道中,与中华台北跆拳道运动员杨淑君的相关报道,已发布的下线处理,并暂不做后续报道。

Meng Jianzhu

November 22, 2010

Search out and delete information related to Ming Jianzhu going to Shanghai to serve as the municipal party secretary.

[News Summary: After the November 15 apartment building fire in Shanghai, the director of the CCP Public Security Bureau, Meng Jianzhu, was sent to Shanghai to inspect the situation.  Many online postings claimed that Meng was sent to replace Yu Zhengsheng and become the new party secretary of Shanghai.]

孟建柱

查删孟建柱去上海当市委书记相关信息

【新闻简介:2010年11月15日上海火灾之后,中共公安部长孟建柱去上海视察。网络上有很多帖子说他要去接替俞正声,成为新的上海市委书记】

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.