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.
October 19, 2010
It is not permitted to place on-line the interview with Ishihara Shintarō from Southern People’s Weekly (Nanfang renwu zhoukan).
All websites are to delete content on CNN’s interview with Wen Jiabao
October 19, 2010
All websites are to delete content on CNN’s interview with Wen Jiabao, especially the so-called “four wishes plead to the political reform” included therein.
[The Ministry of Truth does not refer solely to the Propaganda Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party. It includes the CCP Propaganda Bureau, the State Council Information Office, the Central Office of Civilized Action, the State Film and Radio Administration, the Ministry of Publishing, and the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the CCP, among others, all bureaus that block freedom of speech and publication.]
Jilin University is not allowed to accept any interviews related to Liu Xiaobo
October 10, 2010
Jilin University and its College of Literature are not allowed to accept any interviews related to Liu Xiaobo ’78.
Do not report or comment on “Investigation Report on Foxconn”
October 9, 2010
Directives from provincial leaders state there is to be no reporting or commentary on the soon-to-be-released “Summary Investigation Report on Foxconn,.” Professors and students at 20 domestic, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese institutions, including Beijing University, completed the report together.
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.