Latest Directives From the Ministry of Truth, March 24-31, 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.

State Council Information Office: Google’s Unlawful Tax Activity

March 30, 2011

From the State Council Information Office: All websites are requested, on their front pages and headline news pages, to repost the story “Unlawful Tax Activity by Google’s China Business Discovered Again.”  Leave the story up until April 1, 8:00 am: a “Level One” implementation order.



State Council Information Office: State Council To Enlarge Foreign Investment Supervisory Bureau

March 30, 2011

From the State Council Information Office: All websites are requested not to publish or repost the story “State Council to Enlarge Foreign Investment Supervisor Bureau.”  Websites that have already posted the story are requested to immediately remove it.



Municipal Propaganda Bureau: Tickets for the 2012 Ships

March 29, 2011

From the party propaganda committee of one of the autonomous municipalities: In no case is it allowed to report regarding “Information about tickets for the 2012 ships,” which has appeared on microblogs.



State Council Information Office: Peking University To Screen Radical-Minded Students

March 29, 2011

From the State Council Information Office: Recently, interactive spaces on many websites have been buzzing about the affair, “Peking University To Screen Radical-Minded Students.”  All website authorities are requested to stop these discussions, and quickly water down this topic.



Central Propaganda Department: Nuclear Radioactivity from Japan; Items with Trace Amounts of Radioactivity Discovered in China

March 29, 2011

From the Central Propaganda Department: For reports regarding radioactivity from Japan and the discovery of items with trace amounts of radioactivity in China, all media are only to use copy circulated from the Xinhua News Agency.  Media are not allowed to conduct their own interviews and reports.



Central Propaganda Department: Filipino Drug Trafficker Executed

March 28, 2011

From the Central Propaganda Department: Do not report, repost stories, or comment on the execution of a drug trafficker from the Philippines.



State Council Information Office: Website of the China Government Securities Depository Trust & Clearing Company Attacked, Service Suspended

March 24, 2011

From the State Council Information Office: All websites are not to repost the story, “Website of the China Government Securities Depository Trust & Clearing Co, Ltd.,, suffers an DDoS attack that suspects service; website cannot be accessed.”  If the story has already been posted, websites are requested to immediately delete it and related content.



State Council Information Office: The Crime of Opposing Western Profiteering

March 24, 2011

From the State Council Information Office: On their news and commentary pages, all websites are requested to post in a prominent position the stories, “Arab League Criticizes Military Action Against Libya,” and “In The Eyes of Hegemonism, There Is Only ‘The Crime of Opposing Western Profiteering.’”



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 an “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,” sends 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.

March 31, 2011 4:20 PM
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