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 are to properly report on demonstrations in Hong Kong
August 30, 2010
The purpose of the demonstrations in Hong Kong (over the hostage tragedy in the Philippines) is not pure. (Those demonstrations) are releasing dissatisfaction towards the mainland. All websites are to properly report on demonstrations in Hong Kong, and not allow themselves to be taken advantage of by anti-mainland sentiment in Hong Kong.
Do not report the story “Secretary General of Vietnamese Communist Party holds multi-candidate elections”
August 30, 2010
It is forbidden to report on democratic steps taken in Vietnam: the Secretary General holding multi-candidate elections, direct elections for the National Assembly, and the requirement starting in April for all National Assembly representatives, legislators, and high-level government officials to report their property.
Central Propaganda Bureau: All media outlets are to recall reporters sent to Yichun
August 28, 2010
Other than reporters from CCTV, Xinhua, People’s Daily (Renmin ribao), Heilongjiang Daily (Heilongjiang ribao), and Yichun Daily (Yichun ribao), reporters sent from other media outlets are all to be recalled from Yichun.
Regarding Gao Yaojie in Southern Weekend
August 26, 2010
All websites are to delete the report on Gao Yaojie in Southern Weekend (Nanfang zhoumo).
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.” The Ministry 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.