Latest Directives From the Ministry of Truth, February 10-15, 2011

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 .” 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.

The Movement Against Abductions

February 15, 2011

From the Central Propaganda Department: Recently, media in all regions have issued a series of reports on the movement to free abducted children by using pictures taken with mobile phones.  These cases have garnered widespread interest in society, as well as the heightened attention of relevant government bureaus.

Because this item has received so much attention, and is quite sensitive, all media must firmly grasp proper leadership of public opinion.  Reports on the movement to release abducted children and itinerant child beggars with the help of mobile phone cameras and microblogs should have a reduced presence on news pages.  To properly lower excitement, do not issue serial articles on the movement.  This will avoid giving people the impression that the problem is compounding.

All media reports and commentaries must strictly observe regulations regarding reporting on minors, and are not to criticize the institutions currently in operation or the social aid system.  Prevent reports from inappropriately providing people with a handle [for criticism].  We must steadfastly maintain positive propaganda, and emphasize reporting on relevant measures adopted by bureaus at all levels of government, as well as the work that they are doing and the achieved results.  Put forward and mobilize societal energy to support those who have experienced loss, and exert effort to help vagrant and begging children.  Promote and give form to a positive societal trend of pitching in on work for society and caring for others.

打拐运动

中宣部: 最近,各地媒体对随手拍照解救被拐儿童活动进行了连续报道,已引起社会广泛关注和相关部门高度重视。

由于此项工作关注度高、敏感性强,各媒体要牢牢把握正确的舆论导向。对有关随手拍照解救被拐儿童、微薄解救流浪乞讨儿童活动的报道要减少版面、适当降温,不要连篇累牍报道,避免给人以问题成堆的印象。

各媒体相关报道和评论要严格遵守未成年人新闻报道的规定,不要批评现行制度和社会救助体系,防止因报道不当而授人以柄。要坚持正面宣传,重点报道各级政府相关部门采取的措施、所做的工作、取得的成效。倡导和动员社会力量捐资出力帮助流浪乞讨儿童,推动形成参与社会事务、关爱他人的良好社会风尚。

The Case of Liu Zhijun

February 14, 2011

From the State Council Information Office:  For the Liu Zhijun affair, all major websites must use standard source material and only repost copy circulated from the Xinhua News Agency.  Do not place the affair as a lead story, and do not establish it as a special topic.  Close news comment posting capabilities for the story, and positively lead public opinion on online forums and blogs.

Strictly supervise microblogs, online social networks, and instant message services.  Immediately delete articles that attack the Party and government, raise questions about the achievements of high-speed rail construction, or use this incident to fan collective action.

刘志军案

国新办:各大网站,刘志军一事要规范稿源,只转发新华社稿。不作头条,不开专题,关闭新闻跟帖,正面引导论坛、博客的舆论。

对微博、社交媒体和即时通讯要严格管理,对攻击党和政府、质疑高铁建设成绩,借此煽动群体事件的文章要立刻删除。

Regulation and Control of the Real Estate Market

February 10, 2011

From the Central Propaganda Bureau and the State Council Information Office: Regarding regulation and control of the real estate market, all websites must successfully lead public opinion and propaganda.  They must actively promote [efforts by] the CCP and State Council to resolutely restrain rapid increases in real-estate prices; safeguard the determination of the masses to stay in their residences; and promote the positive achievements of the State Council Secretariat’s “Notice of Issues Related to Progress on Regulation and Control of the Real Estate Market” and reform of real estate taxes.

房地产市场调控

中宣部,国新办:对于房地产市场调控,各网站务必做好舆论宣传引导工作。要积极宣传党中央、国务院坚决遏制房价过快上涨、保障人民群众住有所居的决心,宣传国务院办公厅《关于进一步做好房地产市场调控工作有关问题的通知》和房地产税改革试点的正面成就。

In China, several political bodies are in charge of Internet content control. At the highest level, there is the, which ensures that media and cultural content follows the official line as mandated by the CCP. Then there is the State Council Information Office (), 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 .” The  (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  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 , the news is that their supposedly confidential instructions get tweeted as well.