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.
Yihuang town, Jiangxi
September 17, 2010
All media outlets must quickly withdraw from Yihuang county, Jiangxi province, and must not disturb the medical treatment of the injured parties
September 15, 2010
The State Council Information Office notifies all major websites: all draft print and television reports on the self-immolation case in Yihuang county, Fuzhou city, Jiangxi must be abandoned. [Ed. note: Three people in Yihuang lit themselves on fire in an attempt to prevent their homes from being demolished to make way for a planned bus station.]
Novels about official circles
September 15, 2010
All publishing houses are forbidden from publishing novels about official government circles.
Cell phone user verification system
September 3, 2010
Reports on the cell phone real name registration system must steadfastly maintain proper propagandizing and correctly lead public opinion. Only publish reports supporting the cell phone real name registration system. Any report, opinion piece, or article that opposes the system, calls it into question, or senselessly nit-picks at its implementation cannot be published. Such reports that have already been published absolutely must be deleted, creating powerful and positive public opinion on-line that supports the cell phone real name registration system. We must strengthen management of opinion forums, news commentary spaces, blogs, and micro-blogs, resolutely deleting posts that oppose, call into question, or criticize the system. It is not allowed to organize related online survey, and those that have already been initiated absolutely must be dismantled. This sentiment must be communicated to the responsible parties of all websites, as well as editors of opinion forums and blogs.
Military Affairs World POINT
September 3, 2010
Quickly recall and cancel September issues of Military Affairs World POINT (Junshi shijie POINT) published at the end of August.
Image: Cao Mingzhao (蔡名照) , Deputy Director of the CCP Central Committee Propaganda Department, former Deputy Director of the State Council Information Office. Souce: ifeng.com)
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 nickname 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.