Censorship Vault: Keep Everything from Everyone

Editor’s Note: From the Censorship Vault features previously untranslated censorship instructions from the archives of the CDT series Directives from the Ministry of Truth (真理部指令). These instructions, issued to the media and/or Internet companies by various central (and sometimes local) government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. 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.

Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The original publication date is noted after the directives; the date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.

The directive below, from the Fujian city of Quanzhou, refers to two propaganda theories:

Quanzhou Municipal Department of Propaganda Internet Office: Articles posted on websites must execute the principles of “differences inside and outside” and “differences among the outsides.” Articles which will have a negative influence on Quanzhou must be posted discreetly and checked thoroughly. (September 7, 2010)

福建省委泉州市委宣传部网络处:网站用稿要做到内外有别、外外有别,对泉州有负面的影响的稿件,要慎重,要把好关。

“Differences inside and outside” (内外有别) is usually translated “keeping insider information from reaching outsiders.” In propaganda work, it means producing different types of material for domestic and foreign audiences. In 1986, then-Central Committee General Office Director Hu Qili brought up “differences among the outsides” (外外有别) in reference to propaganda targeted at foreign audiences [zh], which he said must be tailored to the particular sensibilities of different nations and cultures.

It is unclear what incident this Fujian directive is specifically responding to. It could be making the distinction between material on the “Chinternet” and the free Internet, or it could simply indicate a poor understanding of the flow of information online.