Regarding the kidnapping of about 1,000 children in Shanxi province, the Chinese central government has announced a policy, not on how to punish the ruthless kiln owners and the perfunctory local officials and police, but on how to censor the related news and save the face of the party and the government. Here is the translation of a notice released by the CPC Central Office of External Communication, one of the party’s main propaganda arms.
All External Communication Offices, Central and Local Main News Websites:
Regarding the Shanxi “illegal brick kilns” event, all websites should reinforce positive propaganda, put more emphasis on the forceful measures that the central and local governments have already taken, and close the comment function in the related news reports. The management of the interactive communication tools, such as online forums, blogs, and instant messages, should also be strengthened. Harmful information that uses this event to attack the party and the government should be deleted as soon as possible. All local external communication offices should enhance their instruction, supervision and inspection, and concretely implement the related management measures.
The Internet Bureau, CPC Central Office of External Communication
June 15, 2007
UPDATE: Read also: How media “guidance” works in China by James Fallows.