A Party that Smiles to the World, but Tightens its Grip at Home (Updated)

The Danish daily Information reports on a leaked document it claims comes from the Central Committee, which offers hardline directives on Internet censorship and propaganda:

”In particular, crackdowns must be imposed on any aggression directed against the party and its leaders as well as against the promotion of other political systems and a free press.” Such is the essential message in an official and classified document from the Chinese Central Committee leaked to the Danish daily

On the first page of the document, it is stated that its contents has been approved by the Central Committee and sent out for implementation. The document is one of a number of papers leaked from the top Chinese echelon that directly contradict public statements by Chinese leaders. Among other things, the regime has insisted that it does not exercise any censorship. However, the official document outlines several instances of how the Chinese authorities should prevent people from getting in touch with ”politically sensitive information”. Such information must be either ”blocked”, ”destroyed” or ”cleansed” from the Internet, media and books, the order from the Central Committee to the lower levels of the state apparatus makes clear.

The document, which is the dated from the beginning of March, has been communicated to ”all provincial governments” and ”all headquarters of the People’s Liberation Army” with the message that they must ”work hard together in order to diligently execute the policy” that ”comrades in the Central Committee and leaders of the State Council have agreed upon”.

[...] The classified documents reveal that the Chinese government plays a double game with a large and growing gap between the self-portrait regime that Beijing itself wishes to project to outside world and the way it actually intends to rule. The communist regime’s propaganda apparatus is instructed to introduce China to other countries as peaceful, increasingly democratic and open to the outside world. But behind the facade, its grip on Chinese people and society should be tightened to new levels of harshness.

”Although it is no secret that there is an extensive censorship going on in China, the government denies that it is taking place, These documents undermine this denial by virtue of the the government’s own words,” says media analyst at Hong Kong University David Bandurski.

Update: On Twitter, Bandurski claims that the article misrepresented his views, and that he was never actually shown the documents in question.

[They] Shared paraphrases with me which I said sounded completely run-of-the-mill, so they’ve overplayed …

Danish report totally out of context. David Bandurski doesn’t “believe they can be seen” as anything. I didn’t comment on THESE reports.

On Dan. rep. I was asked to comment on such reports on censorship generally, without knowing what the reporter had in hand. I stressed that.

Fond of all you journos, but a certain misleading Danish report might have me taping my own interviews from now on.