Ministry of Truth: Less Bad Reporting on Liquor
The following example of censorship instructions, issued to the media and/or Internet companies by various central (and sometimes local) government authorities, has 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.
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.
Central Propaganda Department: With regards to negative news on the baijiu industry, all media are to discontinue production of all reports and commentary except for that which strictly adheres to Xinhua wire copy and information issued by authoritative bureaus, and which also downplays the issue. (December 18, 2012)
Baijiu is a grain alcohol typically distilled from sorghum. This directive most likely refers to the recent news that industrial plasticizers were found in Kweichow Moutai brand baijiu. The state-owned company’s stock rose 1.8% on December 11 after publicly stating that its product meets government standards, but then fell again after Peking University professor Li Tongji claimed at a Moutai press conference that the human body has ways of “detoxing.”