Directives from the Ministry of Truth: July 5-September 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.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Do not report, comment on, or hype up the series of vicious murder cases in Guiyang county of Hunan province or the homicide case in Botou city of Hebei province.
From the Hunan Provincial Propaganda Department: All Hunan media outlets are not to hype up the serial murder case in which the killer ate four of his female victims.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Regarding Shanghai Metro crash, all media outlets are to only release news from authorities. Do not send reporters to conduct interviews, release comments, or re-post news gathered from cyberspace. No scrolling news or live broadcasting is allowed. Strengthen control over microblogs. Do not irresponsibly release unreliable statements.
From the Propaganda Department of the Beijing Municipal Party Committee: In order to demonstrate the superiority of Chinese socialist democracy and people as the master of the country, all media outlets are to actively publicize local election for representatives of the People’s Congress. Please note: News reports regarding independent candidates or election workshops are strictly prohibited.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Regarding the fatal incident on train K256 of the Shanghai Ministry of Railways in which a passenger died after an altercation with crew members, all media outlets are not to conduct independent reports but to wait for the standard copy from the Ministry.
From the Jiangxi Provincial Propaganda Department: Regarding the train K256 fatal beating that happened in Jiangxi Province, all local media outlets are not to participate in hyping up the incident.
From the Propaganda Department of the Beijing Municipal Party Committee:Regarding the accidental beating of the Luoyang tourist incident, all media outlets are not to release follow-up reports or hype up the incident.
From the Henan Provincial Propaganda Department: All Henan media outlets are prohibited from reporting or re-posting the Luoyang sex slave case.
From the Hubei Provincial Propaganda Department: Regarding news about the “man executed by firing squad found ‘resurrected’” nine years later,” no re-posting or reporting will be allowed.
From the Fujian Provincial Propaganda Department: Regarding Zhang Shichao’s tortured-to-death case, no reports are allowed for any media outlets.
[On September 16, Zhang was taken by the local Procuratorate officers for “assisting investigation” and died after 70 hours of being held in the office. His family believed that he was tortured to death.]
From the Propaganda Department of the Jinan Municipal Party Committee: All media outlets are prohibited from reporting this morning’s incident in which a security guard of Jinan Central Hospital was attacked and injured by a patient.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Do not comment on or hype up the radical anti-Japan activities during the September 18 Incident anniversary.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Do not report the Wang Qinghua/Wang Jiayun murder case. Do not report the Ran Yunfei case. Only positive reports of Party committees and government employees are allowed.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Regarding the Dong Zhanyi and Cheng Xi’s subversion of state power case, no reports will be allowed.
From the Central Propaganda Department: All media outlets are not to report or hype up the Kaifeng Jews problems.
From the Central Propaganda Department: All media outlets are to cautiously report China’s recognition of Libya’s National Transitional Council with a good grasp of appropriate wording and scale. Do not post unnecessary comments.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Do not hype up or comment on the email exchanges between a Canadian MP and a Xinhua female reporter.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Do not hype up the shipwreck incident in Shaoyang, Hunan.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Do not continue on hyping Li Tianyi’s assault case.
From the State Council Information Office: All microblogs, social media sites, and all other interactive spaces are to immediately delete all posts and pictures related to the “Eighty-thousand Bro. of the Central Party School.” All online media outlets are not to conduct follow-up reports. Immediately remove any posts that have already been published.
[Eighty-thousand Bro. is a “second-generation rich” who showed off his luxurious lifestyle in cyberspace and bragged about a meal that cost him 80,000 Yuan while attending the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China. A large part of his real identity and family background information were later uncovered by netizens’ human flesh search engines.]
From the Central Propaganda Department: Do not report or comment on the recent change in supervision of the Beijing News and Beijing Times, which now are administrated by Beijing Municipal Party Committee Propaganda Department. Only standard reports from the Department are allowed to be used.
From the Central Propaganda Department: All media outlets are not to hype up the recent news story of Zhangbei county’s Party Secretary [Li Xuerong], in which thousands of people showed up and saw him off for his transfer.
[A music video titled “County Party Secretary” was also dedicated to Li Xuerong. Read more on Online Music Video Sings Praises Of County Party Secretary, from ChinaSmack.]
From the Central Propaganda Department: Attention to media at all levels including online media: Carefully guide public opinion over the revision process of the Criminal Procedure Law. Do not hype up negative comments.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Weather reports on the Central TV Station are to downplay the Southwest severe drought. Do not use “disaster” during reporting; use “dry weather” instead.
From the Central Propaganda Department: All media outlets are to carefully guide public opinion over the PX project [chemical plants]. The China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Association will soon be publishing relevant articles on its website, and all metropolitan newspapers are required to re-post them.
From the Central Propaganda Department: All media outlets are not to publicize or discuss topics regarding the home-purchase restrictions. Do not hype up relevant comments.
From the Central Propaganda Department: All media outlets are not to hype up negative news regarding the China Charity Federation or charities in general. Supervise constructively. Use only authoritative information released from relevant department’s investigation results.
From the Central Propaganda Department: All media outlets are not to conduct follow-up reports on the fake State Administration of Taxation document incident.
[A fake document titled “State Council State Administration of Taxation, Notice 47, 2011” was widely reported by Chinese media including Xinhua News Agency and mainstream newspapers. Read more on Big oops leaves state media red-faced, from China Media Project.]
From the State Council Information Office: All media outlets are not to report the fight between the Bayi Rockets and the Georgetown Hoyas. Control needs to be strengthened over all online sports channels, military channels, and websites. All online discussion forums, microblogs, and interactive programs are not to hype up the incident. All related pictures and video clips are to be promptly removed.
From the Guangdong Provincial Propaganda Department: Regarding Guangzhou-based independent candidate Liang Shuxin, no reports are allowed for any Guangzhou media outlets.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Due to the increasing complexity of public opinion, all media outlets, including all subordinate newspapers and news websites, are to immediately cool off on reporting U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke or Biden’s cheap lunch in Beijing. Do not release any commentaries.
From the Propaganda Department of the Qingdao Municipal Party Committee: According to instructions from the superiors, all media outlets are prohibited from reporting the incident during this morning’s forced demolition at #9 Shantou Road, in which a former military officer used gasoline set himself on fire.
From the Central Propaganda Department: All media outlets are not to report or hype up the Wang Lihong case.
From the Hunan Provincial Propaganda Department: Do not conduct follow-up reports regarding the mass relocation of Jiehe village residents due to flood discharge in Qionghu neighborhood of Yuanjiang, Hunan, in which the flood discharging zone turned out to be sold by the local government as economic development zones.
From the Hunan Provincial Propaganda Department: The illegal college school fee incident has been dealt with accordingly by the Hunan Department of Education. All media outlets are not to conduct follow-up reports. It is strictly prohibited to hype up the incident.
From the Central Propaganda Department: All media outlets are to carefully handle reports on land grabs. Do not question the legitimate procedure of demolition; do not offer public support to those who ask for unreasonable compensation; do not report forced demolition related incidents involving suicide, self-harm, or large groups. Do not hype up the very few extreme cases. No collective or linked reports will be allowed.
中宣部：各地媒体需稳妥把握”征地拆迁报道，对依法依规开展的正常拆迁“不要质疑”，对漫天要价不要给予舆论支持，对暴力拆迁及拆迁中发生的“自杀、自残、群体性” 事件不报道，对 极端个案不炒作，不搞集纳式和链接式报道。
From the Propaganda Department of the Beijing Municipal Party Committee:
Attention to all Beijing media outlets and the Office of Internet Police:
Regarding the signal system of Beijing Subway, which is said to be developed by the same company involved in Wenzhou high speed train crash, no reports or comments are allowed. The Beijing Internet Administration Office is responsible for regulating public opinion on cyberspace.
From the State Council Information Office: All articles related to the Wenzhou hi-speed train crash are to be kept on back pages; no relevant articles are allowed on front pages. All news centers are to keep only one report of the most recent development. Do not release any commentaries. No recommendation of related topics on any forums, blogs, or microblogs will be allowed. Immediately remove all relevant posts and blogs that have already been recommended on front-pages. Any posts, blogs, or microblogs that are unable to meet the requirements based on today’s order must be deleted. All websites are to immediately carry out and implement this order within the next half an hour. Review of implementation is required after another half an hour.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Due to the increasing complexity of the domestic and foreign public opinion on the 7.23 Wenzhou high-speed train crash, all media outlets including all subordinate newspapers and news websites are to immediately cool off on reporting the accident. No additional reports will be allowed except positive ones or information released by authorities. Do not publish any commentaries.
From the Henan Provincial Propaganda Department: Regarding the bank run at the Dengfeng Rural Credit Cooperatives and possible similar incidents in the future, all media outlets are not to release relevant reports. Please reply upon the receipt of this notice.
From the Central Propaganda Department: Do not exaggerate or hype up the so-called “four public hearing giants” of Chengdu.
[Netizens found that not only the same four people have been showing up at most of public price hearings held in Chengdu, but they have all voted for price hikes as well. There have been debates over whether these four people are “professional” public price hearing attendees.]
From the Central Propaganda Department: A group of assassins attacked a police station today in Hetian, Xinjiang. Media outlets are not to conduct independent reporting. It is strictly prohibited to hype up the incident.
From the Yunnan Provincial Propaganda Department: Do not re-post reports from non-Yunnan media outlets regarding Dang Xiyan* of Kunming. All media outlets are to wait for orders from the Organization Department of Provincial Party Committee.
*Dang Xiyan was involved in a sex scandal in which she was believed to be a mistress of her supervisor. Dang got four unreasonable promotions within three years.
From the Propaganda Department of a Municipal Party Committee: Urgent notice regarding preventing the spreading of negative news:
Attention to all websites:
According to the orders from the superiors, all websites are to promptly block negative information and keywords related to rumors of the former President Jiang Zemin’s death. Please immediately run a thorough checkup upon receiving this notice. All negative information is to be strictly prevented from spreading.
From the Henan Provincial Propaganda Department: Regarding the independent mayoral candidate Cao Tian, foreign forces are participating with ulterior purposes and attempting to overthrow our government. Department of National Security and Department of Revenue are currently investigating this case. No media outlets in Henan Province will be allowed to re-post or release any reports related to Cao. The leadership of Henan Mobile News are subject to censure and further investigation for re-posting reports from the Beijing News.