Latest Directives from the Ministry of Truth, November 22-28, 2010

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.

Mingyi Powdered Milk

November 28, 2010

It is not permitted to publish any negative reports regarding Mingyi powdered milk.

[News Summary: Mingyi brand powdered milk has been said to have serious problems in quality.]




High Bridge Structure Incident in Nanjing

November 28, 2010

Any reporting on the high bridge structure incident in Nanjing must conform to standards.  Reports cannot be lead stories that guide people to read about it.  Reports cannot use the phrase “large bridge collapse.”  They can only use the phrase “steel structure side turned over.”  For the water pipe break, reports cannot say that it “burst”; they can only say that it “side leaked.”



Xidan Commercial Street

November 26, 2010

For the incident of a car hitting and injuring people on November 22 on Xidan commercial street in Beijing, news websites are requested to promptly press stories to back pages.  Do not enable user postings to news [about the incident.]  Do not make in-depth or follow-on reports.



Regarding News Sources

November 24, 2010

From the Propaganda Bureau: We must strengthen professional morals and education.  All news units must diligently verify story leads.  It is forbidden to use postings on the Internet as news sources.



First Finance and Economics Weekly

November 24, 2010

From the Internet Management Office: Starting from midnight, November 24, 2010, it is strictly forbidden to reprint any and all content from First Finance and Economics Weekly (Di yi caijing zhoukan).  It is not permitted to make stories related to the content of articles in First Finance and Economics Weekly.

[News Summary: First Finance and Economics Weekly, because it published a story entitled “The World of a Guaranteed Internet,” which directly revealed sensitive material on the nature of ordinary work at the State Council’s Information Office, has provoked an angry burst from the Ministry of Truth.]


网管办: 从2010年11月24日24:00起,严禁转载《第一财经周刊》的所有内容,不许做与《第一财经周刊》文章内容相关的互动。


The Zhao Lianhai Case

November 24, 2010

From the Office of Information of the State Council: Delete all reports related to the case of Zhao Lianhai.

[News Summary: Attorney Zhao Lianhai represented babies who developed kidney stones [from tainted powdered milk] and sued.  He was arrested and received a prison sentence.]


国新办: 删除所有赵连海案的报道


Yang Shujun

November 23, 2010

When reporting on the Asian Games in Guangzhou, for reports on Yang Shujun, a Taekwondo athlete from Taipei, and the already issued decision to remove her from the competition, for the time being do not make any follow-up reports.



Meng Jianzhu

November 22, 2010

Search out and delete information related to Ming Jianzhu going to Shanghai to serve as the municipal party secretary.

[News Summary: After the November 15 apartment building fire in Shanghai, the director of the CCP Public Security Bureau, Meng Jianzhu, was sent to Shanghai to inspect the situation.  Many online postings claimed that Meng was sent to replace Yu Zhengsheng and become the new party secretary of Shanghai.]




Read more about the “Ministry of Truth” via CDT:

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 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.