Latest Directives From the Ministry of Truth, January 2-28, 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 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.

Disturbances in Egypt

January 28, 2011

From the State Council Information Office and Bureau 11 of the Ministry of Public Security:

For the disturbances in Egypt, media across the nation must use copy circulated from Xinhua.  Websites are to strengthen [monitoring] of posts, forums, blogs, and particularly posts on microblogs.  Our bureaus will forcibly shut down websites that are lax in monitoring.


January 28, 2011



A Walk Through the Grass Roots for the Beginning of Spring

January 22, 2011

The CCP Central Propaganda Bureau has recently issued a notice demanding that all news work units organize reporters to launch the interviewing activity “A Walk Through the Grass Roots for the Beginning of Spring” (Xinchun zou jiceng).  The activity will unite the changes occurring among low social strata, link together the experiences of the masses, and reflect achievements in developing China’s economy and society.  All news units must organize reporters during the Spring Festival to go deep into the lower social strata for interviews, working to create a holiday atmosphere of celebration and ardent happiness.


January 22, 2011

中共中央宣传部近日发出通知,要求各新闻单位组织记者开展“新春走基层”采访活动,结合基层变化,联系群众感受,反映中国经济社会发展成就。 各新闻单位务必在春节期间组织记者深入基层采访,着力营造喜庆热烈祥和的节日氛围。

The Attack on Police in Tai’an, Shandong

January 22, 2011

From the Internet Surveillance Office: Regarding the attack on police in Tai’an, Shandong, websites are to strengthen positive opinion leadership, and emphasize the sacrifices and injuries of the policemen.  Do not publish details on the handling of the case, nor give commentary on the police’s work.  Strengthen control of interactive links, and delete negative information regarding the incident.


January 22, 2011


A Special Effort from the Central Propaganda Bureau

January 18, 2011

From the Shandong Provincial Party Propaganda Bureau: All media must diligently execute propaganda and reporting related to the Central Propaganda Bureau’s special effort to attack breaches of intellectual property and faulty rip-off products.  The effort is particularly aimed at activities that cheat and harm farmers.


January 18, 2011



Merger of Shandong Economics College and Shandong Finance College

January 18, 2011

From the Shandong Provincial Party Propaganda Bureau: For the merger of Shandong Finance College and Shandong Economics College, there have been no authoritative announcements from related bureaus.  Malicious hype is not permitted.


January 18, 2011

山东省委宣传部通知:山东财政学院(简称“山财”)、山东经济学院(简称“山经” )合并一事,没有相关部门的权威发布,不准恶意炒


Territorial Problem Between China and Tajikistan

January 12, 2011

From the State Council Information Office: All websites are not permitted to repost news reports related to Tajikistan returning 1,000 square kilometers of land to China.  If such reports have already been posted, all website editors are requested to immediately delete them.


January 12, 2011



Deaths Caused by Tomb Looting in Henan

January 11, 2011

A notice from the Henan Provincial Propaganda Bureau: All media and websites are not to report on the deaths that are suspected to have been caused by looting tombs on the stretch of the Zhengzhou-Lushi freeway between Luoyang and Luoning.


January 11, 2011



North Korean Soldiers Shoot and Kill Chinese People Living Near Border

January 5, 2011

From the Jilin Provincial Propaganda Bureau: All media are not to report on the recent illegal cross-border shootings near Baishan city by two people suspected to be North Korean military personnel.  Two Chinese people were killed in the incident.


January 5, 2011


Hu Jintao and the 77-yuan/month Apartment

January 2, 2011

A notice from the State Council Information Office: All search engines, blogs, websites, forums, and microblog services must immediately conduct thorough searches for and delete all negative information related to “affordable rental of 77-yuan/month,” “tenant pays 77-yuan/month.”  It is absolutely not allowed to continue to permit the circulation of rumors and discussion of the incident, including statements that the tenant was a government employee and negative information that smears the General Secretary.  The State Council Information Office will institute strict punishments against websites that continue to allow the circulation of such information, as well as local Internet control bureaus to which they belong.


January 2, 2011


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 (), 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.