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.

埃及骚乱

January 28, 2011

国务院新闻办和公安部第十一局:

“埃及骚乱一事,全国媒体必须使用新华社通稿,严禁擅自编译外电。网站加强跟贴、论坛、博客,尤其是微博的互动栏目,管理不力的,我办将强制关闭。”

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.

新春走基层

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  Do not publish details on the handling of the case, nor give commentary on the police’s work.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.

山东泰安袭警

January 22, 2011

网管办:关于山东泰安袭警事件,网上加强正面舆论引导,重点报道牺牲和负伤民警的事迹,不刊发案件处置细节,平述警方处置的稿件。互动栏目加强管理,有关这方面的负面信息予以删除。

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.

中宣部专项行动

January 18, 2011

山东省委宣传部:中宣部打击侵犯知识产权和假冒伪劣专项行动,特别是打击坑农害农行为,各媒体要作好相关的宣传报道。

 

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.

山经和山财合并

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.

中塔两国领土问题

January 12, 2011

国新办通知:各网站不得转发有关塔吉克斯坦退还中国约1000平方公里领土的新闻报道,如果已经转发,请网站编辑立即删除。

 

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.

河南盗墓致人死亡

January 11, 2011

河南省委宣传部通知:关于郑卢高速洛阳至洛宁段发生涉嫌盗墓致人死亡一事,各媒体及网络不报道。

 

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.

朝鲜军警射杀中国边民

January 5, 2011

吉林省宣传部:对今日白山市两名疑似朝军警人员非法越境枪击,我边民被击毙事件,各媒体不做报道

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.

胡77

January 2, 2011

国新办通知:所有搜索引擎,所有博客,所有网站、论坛和微博客服务,立即彻查并坚决删除和“77元廉价租房”,“77元房客”相关的所有负面信息。绝不允许继续让有关谣言和议论,包括说租户是公务员和诬蔑主席的负面信息继续传播。对于继续传播有关信息的网站,国新办将同时从严惩办网站以及所属当地的网络管理部门。

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.