Directives from the Ministry of Truth: May 1-31, 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.

May 31

Beijing: War Time Coordination Mechanism of Intelligence and Information for Maintaining Stability during the June 4th Sensitive Period

From the Beijing Municipal Government internal document “War Time Coordination Mechanism of Intelligence and Information for Maintaining Stability during the June 4th Sensitive Period” … All units are requested to collect and report information regarding potential treats to stability of the Capital as well as all work unit activities conducted during this sensitive period.

北京:六四敏感期维稳情报信息战时会商机制
北京市政府内部文件《关于启动六四敏感期维稳情报信息战时会商机制的通知》:请各单位全面搜集可能危害首都稳定的信息上报,并上报敏感时期的单位活动内容。

May 29

Few Examples of Today’s Banned Keywords (usually phrases) for Sina’s Micro-blogging site:

“Inner Mongolia” (and its abbreviation in Chinese), “Xiwu County” (part of Xilinhot), “Mo Rigeng” (an Inner Mongolia resident), “Ethnic Minority Protesting in Inner Mongolia,” “Ethnic Conflicts between Han Majority and Mongol Minority,” “Student Protest,” “Hohhot” (Capital of Inner Mongolia)

[All of the aforementioned keywords are in response to the series of protests by ethnic Mongolians against the killing of a Mongolian herder by Han Chinese.”]

今日新浪微博部分搜索禁词 :

“内蒙”,“西乌旗”,“莫日根”,“内蒙古民族抗议”,“蒙汉冲突”,“学生抗议”, “内蒙古”,“呼和浩特”

May 28

From a Provincial Internet Administration Office: Reporting of news related to the recent ethnic conflicts between Mongol minority and Han majority in Xilinhot or Foxconn’s new suicide incident are prohibited. No discussion of any form on all micro-blogging sites, blogs, and discussion forums. Violators will be subjected to a RMB 30,000 fine.

某省网管办:西乌旗蒙汉冲突的新闻与成都富士康跳楼的新闻禁上,微博、博客、论坛均不得讨论,违规罚款三万。

From the State Council Information Office: All websites are requested to immediately remove photos and news reports regarding Chengdu bus explosion incident from front pages. Interactive spaces must immediately work on preventing the spread of related information and commentary.

国新办:请各网站立即从首页取下成都公交爆炸案图片和有关新闻。互动环节采取立即措施防止成都公交爆炸事件信息和评论扩散。

From the Central Propaganda Department: To all print and TV media: The serial bombings in Fuzhou, Jiangxi must be referred as “5.26 Criminal Case.” No mentioning of “administration building” or “bombing incident” in titles will be allowed.

中宣部:所有平面和电视媒体,江西抚州爆炸一案的提法统一改成“5:26”刑事案件,标题中不得再出现“行政楼”、“爆炸案”字样。

May 26

From the State Council Information Office: In regard to the serial bombings in Fushun, Jiangxi, all discussion and comment sections of all websites must be shut down. All interactive spaces must be managed well.

国新办:江西抚州爆炸案,各网站关闭跟贴及评论。管理好所有互动环节。

From a Provincial Internet Administration Office: Urgent: All discussions of the Jiangxi serial bombings are requested to be immediately and thoroughly deleted. No discussion should be allowed if posts cannot be managed. All photos of corpses need to be deleted.

某省网管办: 紧急通知:请把江西抚州爆炸案的跟帖清理,要下狠手清,管不好跟帖就别讨论。尸体照片要删掉。

From the State Council Information Office: Urgent: Another Foxconn worker committed suicide. No reporting of any form will be allowed on interactive spaces including all discussion forums, micro-blogs, and blogs.

[Foxconn is a major contract manufacturer of Apple’s iPods, iPhones, and iPads. There was a series of workers’ suicide incidents within the manufacturer in 2010.]

国新办:紧急通知:成都富士康又发生跳楼事件,论坛、微博、博客等互动环节一律不得转发

From the Central Propaganda Department: Urgent: In regard to the serial bombings in Fuzhou, Jiangxi, all print and TV media are requested to only use copy circulated from Xinhua News Agency. No independent interviews or reports are allowed. Do not post any related photos, video clips, or special reports. Any reports violating this regulation are subjected to immediate removal.
中宣部:紧急通知:江西抚州爆炸案,所有平面和电视新闻媒体只用新华社通稿。不得自行采访报道。不要刊登图片、视频、不要制作专题,凡不符合要求的立即删除。

From the Central Propaganda Department: In regard to the arrest of Ai Weiwei for economic crimes, Xinhua News Agency has its official response to foreign press. All local media outlets are not to conduct independent reporting.
中宣部:对于艾未未涉嫌经济犯罪受调查一案,新华社对外披露采用统一口径,所有各地媒体不得自行做报道。

May 25
From the Central Propaganda Department: In regard to the soon-to-be-released official compensation plan of the deadly Shanghai high-rising building fire, all media are to use copy circulated from Xinhua News Agency. No independent reports will be allowed.
中宣部:对于即将公布的上海 “11.15” 胶州路大火的正式赔偿方案,各媒体使用新华社通稿,不得自行报道。

May 23
From the State Council Information Office: In regard to information relating to low-income housing, all websites are requested to strictly enforce the regulations and control of online opinion. No recommendations or discussions of related topics will be allowed. Any questioning, attacking, or action-calling posts need to be immediately removed.
[There have been a series of low-income housing scandals exposed on the Internet. Many state-owned companies are accused of selling most of their housing projects (built as part of the public low-income housing project) to internal employees at a mere fraction of market value, whereas the housing projects are supposed to be open to low-income families only. ]
国新办:关于保障房的有关信息,请各地各网站严格调控,不推荐、不讨论相关话题,及时清理质疑性、攻击性、行动性信息。

From the State Council Information Office: In regard to the “Mongol shepherd run over and killed for protecting grassland” incident, all websites are requested to strengthen control and immediately remove negative comments. No recommendations or discussions are allowed on any interactive spaces including discussion forums and blogs.
国新办:关于“内蒙古牧民为保护草原遭运煤车碾死”一事,请各网站加强管理,及时删除有害新闻跟帖,网站论坛、博客等互动环节不推荐、不讨论。

May 20
From the State Council Information Office: Urgent: In regard to Foxconn’s Chengdu plant explosion, all media and websites are to wait for an official report. No independent reports, re-posts, or recommendations will be allowed.
国新办:紧急通知:成都富士康发生爆炸,各媒体网站等待新闻通稿,不得擅自发布、转发、置顶。

From the Xichuan Provincial Propaganda Department: With regards to Foxconn’s Chengdu iPad2 plant explosion, no independent reporting can be conducted. Unauthorized reports will be immediately deleted.
四川省委宣传部:成都富士康产业基地IPAD2生产线爆炸一事,不得擅自报道。未经报批的报道立即删除。

From the State Council Information Office: Do not hype the so-called “Principal Fang Binxing ‘shoe-throwing’ incident widely reported by foreign press. All websites including interactive spaces such as discussion forums, weblogs, microblogs, social media are requested to immediately remove related articles and comments.
国新办:不许炒作境外媒体大肆报道的所谓“北京邮电大学校长方滨兴在武大演讲被扔鞋”一事,所有网站包括论坛,博客,微博,社交媒体等互动环节立即取下已发表的有关文章和评论。

May 19
From the Hubei Provincial Propaganda Department: In regard to today’s deadly building collapse in Qiaokou, Wuhan, all media are to wait for an official report. All media are not to conduct follow-up reports.
湖北省委宣传部: 今天武汉硚口在建楼房倒塌致人死亡一事等候统一报道。各媒体不可再跟进报道。

From Yueyang Municipal Propaganda Bureau of Hunan province on May 9, 2011: Yueyang Evening News violated news-reporting regulations by posting the article “alleged car problems related to gas quality, gas station denies” with photos, and it has brought broad negative impacts. According to the instructions from the Central and Provincial Propaganda Departments, it is clear that negative reports are strictly prohibited during the celebration period of the 90th Anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. And all reports regarding the Central Government as well as province- and city-owned enterprises in Yueyang need to be positive. Therefore, Yueyang Evening News is requested to investigate this incident and seriously punish all the related employees. All news agencies need to learn their lesson.
湖南岳阳市中共市委宣传部,2011年5月9日:《岳阳晚报》违反新闻宣传纪律,《多辆车疑因汽油出现故障 加油站否认与油品有关》,并附照片,产生较大负面影响。
根据中宣部,省委宣传部有关指示精神,明确规定在庆祝中国共产党成立90周年特护期间,严控负面报道。对中央、省驻岳阳企业和市属重点企业,要以正面宣传为主。
责成岳阳晚报查明原因,对相关责任人进行严肃处理,各新闻单位要引以为戒。

May 12
From the State Council Information Office: Attention to all websites, particularly interactive spaces: Immediately delete Southern Metropolis article “Internet Opinion Elites Subsidized by Youyang, Chongqing” and all related information.
国新办:请各网站,特别是互动环节立即删除南方都市报《重庆酉阳给“网络意见领袖”发补助》一文以及有关信息。

From the State Council Information Office: All websites are not to re-post the Southern Metropolis editorial named “Remembering Them as Time Passes by.” Immediately delete articles if already posted. Shut down all discussions of this topic on all interactive spaces. This is a first-grade command and must be followed immediately.

The aforementioned article was dedicated to the deadly 2008 Sichuan Earthquake.

The Central Internet Administration Office has an official operational timeline which consists of three levels of commands for responding while instructing websites to delete unwanted information: First-grade command requires a response within 10 minutes; second-grade requires 30 minutes; third-grade requires deletion of the information within two hours.
国新办:所有网站不可转发5月12日南都社论:“躺在时间的河流上怀念他们”。已经发表的请马上删除,互动环节关闭对这个问题的讨论。一级指令,立即执行。

May 6
From the Central Propaganda Department: In regard to the Southern Weekend report on “special organic food supply exclusively for government officials,” all media are not to re-post or discuss the issue. This instruction applies to any negative information regarding special food supply for government officials.
中宣部:关于南方周末报道海关特供菜一事,所有媒体不转载,不讨论。凡是涉及国家机关特供食品的不良信息,均按此要求处理。

May 4
From the Hunan Provincial Propaganda Department: All media are to stay with the official line in response to the Cheng Guangbiao Controversy. All media are to conduct positive reporting, and no negative reports will be allowed.

[Cheng Guangbiao, the self-declared “most influential philanthropist in China,” is a Taiwanese entrepreneur who has been questioned as claiming to have made several promised big donation payments that were either fraudulent or failed.]
湖南省委宣传部:各媒体对陈光标事件统一口径,坚持正面报道,不得负面报道。

May 3
From the Guangdong Provincial Propaganda Department: In regard to the incident in which a factory worker, Xu Wu, escaped from a psychiatric hospital in Wuhan, all media outlets are not to report or comment.
[Xu Wu is a “petitionor,” or somene seeking justice for wrongful treatment in China by petitioning their cases to the central government. However, in many cases, not only will their cases not be investigated, but their information is often disclosed to the parties they are accusing–usually the local governments as well. And many of them have been locked up and abused in mental hospitals and accused of having severe mental illness. ]
广东省委宣传部:关于湖北武钢职工徐武在武钢医院精神病科治疗期间脱离监护一事,各媒体不再报道和评论。