What Chinese Censors Don’t Want You to Know

The New York Times has translated censorship guidelines issued to editors ahead of this month’s National People’s Congress and CPPCC meetings in Beijing:

A portion was posted on the Internet, and independently confirmed and translated by the Beijing bureau of The New York Times. Annotations by The Times are in brackets.

1. For news on the electoral law during the two meetings, only use articles from Xinhua News Agency and People’s Daily. [Xinhua is the government’s official news agency, and People’s Daily is the official newspaper of the Communist Party.]

2. Do not report on news of people from all walks of life demanding that officials make financial disclosures. [Recently issued party guidelines requiring officials to declare their assets have been widely criticized as weak and ineffective against corruption.]

3. Do not report the editor of Southern Weekend being named among the 10 most influential people by a foreign institution. [Southern Weekend is a weekly newspaper based in Guangzhou that often runs afoul of government censors.]

4. Do not feature news articles on the diary of a bureau director. News must not carry photos of related figures or contents relating to individuals’ private matters from human flesh searches and the like. [A tobacco bureau official in the region of Guangxi was arrested on suspicion of corruption after a diary he allegedly wrote was published on the Internet, describing trysts with mistresses, drunken bouts and bribes. “Human flesh search” is shorthand for the phenomenon of Chinese Web users collaborating en masse to hunt down information on people or other matters.]

5. No negative news allowed on the front pages of newspapers or the headline news sections of Web sites.

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