The following examples of censorship instructions, issued to the media and/or Internet companies by various central (and sometimes local) government authorities, have 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.
All websites with streaming video are to clean out “Nothing Feels Better Than a Young Lass’ Leg” (Hao mo bu guo shao fu tui)
August 24, 2010
The musical video “Nothing Feels Better Than a Young Lass’ Leg” has recently been discovered on the Internet. The lyrics are base and obscene, and the movements of the singers are clearly sexually suggestive and provocative. All websites, please delete the video.
Follow the line of action of the Foreign Ministry in reporting the hostage event in the Philippines
August 24, 2010
The Central Propaganda Department News Bureau gives notice: On August 23, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry has issued a formal position on the kidnapping incident of Hong Kong tourists in the Philippines. All media outlets must follow the formally expressed line of action of the Foreign Ministry, and positively report on the particulars of all relevant parties actively working to rescue the hostages and effectively deal with the aftermath. Do not link this event to Sino-Filipino relations, and refrain from extreme statements.
2010 Internet Media Outlet Convention in Inner Mongolia
August 23, 2010
All provincial-level Internet propaganda and Internet surveillance bureaus are invited to select reliable, skilled, and diligent employees to participate in the activity “2010 Internet Media Convention in Inner Mongolia.”
Do not report the story “Student at Shandong Architectural University Leaps to Death”
August 23, 2010
A news management notice received from the provincial propaganda bureau: All media outlets are not to report on the incident of a student at Shandong Architectural University jumping off a building.
The bombing at Aksu, Xinjiang, and other orders
August 19, 2010
1) Other than reports from Xinhua and Xinjiang media, all other media outlets are not to report or repost stories on the bombing in Aksu. Even copy from Xinhua is not to be reposted.
2) All media outlets are not to send journalists to report on the August 20 trial in Wuxue, Hubei of Zhu Cainian for premeditated murder.
For the National Day of Mourning, media outlets in Xinjiang are not to publish advertisements for two consecutive days.
August 14, 2010
Xinjiang Propaganda Bureau informs all media outlets under its jurisdiction: The National Day of Mourning is changed to two days. On the 15th and 16th all print is to be in black and white, and publishing advertisements is not allowed.
In China, several political bodies are in charge of Internet content control. At the highest level, there is the Central Propaganda Department, which ensures that media and cultural content follows the official line as mandated by the CCP. Then there is the State Council Information Office (SCIO), which has established “Internet Affairs Bureau” to oversee all Websites that publish news, including the official sites of news organizations as well as independent sites that post news content.
This “Internet Affairs Bureau,” sent out very specific instructions to all large news websites daily, and often multiple times per day. Those instructions do not always mean that related contents are completely banned online, but they instruct websites to highlight or suppress certain type of opinions or information in a very detailed manner.
Chinese journalists and bloggers often refer to those instructions, as well as other type of censorship orders to media and websites, as “Directives from the Ministry of Truth.” TheMinistry of Truth (or Minitrue, in Newspeak) is one of the four ministries that govern Oceania in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the Chinese blogosphere, it is the online lingo for the Central Propaganda Department and generally speaking, all other subordinate propaganda agencies including Internet supervision departments.
Today, it’s been said that news does not break, it tweets. For the officials in the the Ministry of Truth, the news is that their supposedly confidential instructions get tweeted as well.