Latest Directives From the Ministry of Truth, April 11-April 19, 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: Alcohol at Sky-high Prices

April 19, 2011

From the State Council Information Office: Websites are not to report or hype the story “At Guangdong Petrol, ‘Alcohol purchased at sky-high prices.’”  Reports that have already been posted must be deleted immediately.  On-line forums, blogs, micro-blogs, and other interactive spaces are not to circulate the story.  Delete harmful information meant to attack the Party, government, and social system.



State Council Information Office: Elementary School Student in Yunnan Attacked

April 19, 2011

From the State Council Information Office: Do not report or repost stories regarding the Yunnan elementary school student who was attacked.

All websites must strictly fulfill the demands regarding propaganda and reporting.  They are to strengthen control and surveillance of news comment spaces, blogs, on-line forums, micro-blogs, and other interactive tools.  Harmful information that attacks the Party and government, or attacks the socialist system of our nation must be deleted immediately.


国新办: 不得报道、转载云南小学生被袭击一事。


State Council Information Office: The Case of Yao Jiaxin

April 17, 2011

State Council Information Office: Regarding the case of Yao Jiaxin hitting a person with his car and then stabbing her to death, all websites are requested to employ copy circulated from the Xinhua News Agency.  Do not conduct follow-up reports, and do not repost stories related to this case.



Central Propaganda Department: Chongqing Corruption Case

April 17, 2011

From the Central Propaganda Department: In the Chongqing corruption case, today the trial is set to begin over the case of Li Zhuang, the defense lawyer who is suspected of fabricating evidence.  Media and websites in all cases are to use copy circulated from the Xinhua News Agency.  Do not comment, do not hype, do not repost.



State Council Information Office: The Case of Li Zhuang

April 17, 2011

From the State Council Information Office: Regarding reports on the trial over the case of Li Zhuang’s “crime leak” (lou zui 漏罪), only repost copy from the Xinhua News Agency.  Strengthen surveillance of news comment posts, on-line forums, blogs, microblogs, and other interactive spaces.  Delete harmful information in a timely manner.



Shanghai: Luxury Dinner for Shanghai Red Cross at Hui gongguan

April 16, 2011

From the Shanghai Municipal Propaganda Department Do not report on the luxury dinner at Hui Gongguan (a restaurant) costing close to 10,000 yuan, spent by the Shanghai Red Cross, Luwan District chapter.



Anhui: Zhou Wenbin’s  Recantation

April 14, 2011

From the Anhui Provincial Propaganda Department (issued at 3:00, April 14, 2011): Provincial media are to immediately return from Haozhou city, Lixin county.  Do not conduct further follow-up interviews or reports regarding Zhou Wenbin’s political recantation-style report information against leaders of the local land bureau.



Guangdong: Xing Dan Passes Away

April 14, 2011

From the Guangdong Provincial Propaganda Committee: All media are not to conduct their own interviews regarding the news that Xing Dan, Assistant Secretary of the Working Committee on Education for the Shenzhen Communist Youth League, has passed away.



Shanghai: Disturbance at Luting North Road

April 13, 2011

From the Shanghai Municipal Propaganda Bureau: Today Do not conduct interview regarding the disturbance that occurred today at Luting North Road.  Wait for an integrated report to be issued.



State Council Information Office: American-style Lies”

April 13, 2011

From the State Council Information Office: For the article from Xinhua Network by Ren Junming, entitled, “Must the American-style lies continue to be told?”, all websites are requested to repost in a prominent position on their website front pages or the front pages of their opinion and commentary sections.



State Council Information Office: Democratic Countries and Autocratic Countries

April 13, 2011

From the State Council Information Office: All websites are requested to immediately delete the article, “29 Differences Between Democratic Countries and Autocratic Countries,” as well as related information.  This is particularly required for all on-line interactive spaces.



Beijing: Coal Gas Explosion in Heping Ward

April 11, 2011

From the Beijing Municipal Propaganda Department: Regarding the coal gas explosion in Heping Ward, Chaoyang District, media are not to conduct their own interviews or reports.



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.