Minitrue: “Qin Huohuo” Trial

The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. 

State Council Information Office: All websites please increase control and clean up discussion of the “Qin Huohuo” case. (April 11, 2014)

国信办:请各网站加强对“秦火火”案的评论管控以及清理。

The trial of Qin Zhihui for “fabricating online rumors and harming others’ reputations”  began on April 11 in Beijing. Known by the online moniker “Qin Huohuo,” the 30-year-old microblogger was arrested in August, just as the government announced plans to “fundamentally eradicate Internet rumors”—part of ongoing efforts to regain control of online public opinion by cracking down on social media. In this first public trial since the crackdown began, Qin pleaded guilty to defaming the now-disbanded Ministry of Railways. The South China Morning Post quotes Qin: “I don’t want to defend myself. I just want to say I hope my experiences would be a lesson to other microbloggers – don’t make the same mistake.”

Chinese journalists and bloggers often refer to these instructions as “Directives from the Ministry of Truth.”

CDT collects directives from a variety of sources and checks 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 on CDT Chinese 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.

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