Latest Directives From the Ministry of Truth, December 10, 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.

Urgent Directive From the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television

December 10, 2010

An urgent directive from the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television: In tonight’s entertainment scrupulously monitor Hong Kong television programs that are rebroadcast in the Pearl River Delta region of Guangdong.  Around 8:00 pm, completely screen out “special news reports” from Hong Kong television about “The Nobel Peace Prize.”



Liu Xiaobo Receives the Nobel Peace Prize

December 10, 2010

A general order from the Central Propaganda Bureau: All media outlets are requested to strictly and rigorously examine and check images, videos, and web pages, and prevent acrostics, caricatures, and other forms of reporting that hype the news of Liu Xiaobo receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.



Railroad Ministry Ticket Refund Machines

December 10, 2010

From the Central Propaganda Bureau: Regarding the ticket refund mechanisms and related policies issued by the Railroad Ministry (Tiedao bu), all media outlets are not to criticize or to question.  As a principle, publish copy from the Xinhua News Agency.



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.