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.
The Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony
November 7, 2010
The 2010 Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony will take place on December 10. All domestic media outlets are not permitted to report on this event. All websites must strengthen content surveillance and management. It is strictly forbidden to broadcast live audio or television programming, recorded broadcasts, excerpts, or related links connected to the awards ceremony.
360 and Tencent
November 4, 2010
Be cautious in reports and commentary regarding the conflict between 360 and Tencent.
[News Summary: Due to conflicts between 360 and Tencent caused by issues with software incursions, messaging among Chinese Internet users has been influenced.]
It is forbidden to broadcast interviews from Fenghuang Satellite Television
November 4, 2010
Interviews regarding Chen Lin broadcast by Fenghuang Satellite Television are not permitted.
[News Summary: In the afternoon of November 1, Fenghuang Satellite Television anchor Zeng Zimo gave a two-hour long face-to-face interview with Chen Ling, the elder brother of Chen Xiaofeng, who was killed in reckless driving incident at Hebei University. After the interview was completed, the Propaganda Bureau censored it.
It is forbidden to “hype” eight prominent news items
November 1, 2010
On October 28, the Central Propaganda Bureau issued the following notice to many media outlets in China: “All media outlets are to adopt effective measures, conscientiously strengthen internal management, strictly enforce propaganda regulations, and standardize news information sources, ensuring there to be no more hype regarding the disturbance over traffic at Hebei University, the suicide jump of a girl in Fenghuang, the vice mayor who fooled around with a Jingcheng female reporter, the so-called “bloody real-estate map” and other negative and sham news. Please earnestly comply and put into practice.”
The incidents that this prohibition against “hyping” from the Central Propaganda Bureau covers include:
1) The girl who died at a police station
2) The case for investigation filed against the assistant director of a Public Security office in Hunan
3) The vice mayor of Maoming who fooled around with a female reporter
4) The relocation and elimination of periodical stands in areas of Nanjing
5) The retention or abandonment of World Expo pavilion buildings
6) The Li Gang incident
7) Rumor about QQ groups being shut down
8) The incident involving the director of the Internet Office of the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television
Previous Works by Liu Xiaobo
October 31, 2010
At the recent National Publishing House Directors and Editors-in-Chief meeting, the assistant director of the General Administration of Press and Publication, Wu Shulin, said: “Some people have even come up with Nobel Peace Prize plans and asked us if it would be possible to publish previous works by Liu Xiaobo. What is the meaning of this? What the heck do you want to do?!”
[News Summary: The works of Liu Xiaobo are not allowed to be published on the mainland.]
Elimination and Forced Relocation of Newspaper Stands in Nanjing
October 31, 2010
The Nanjing Party Committee: Jinling Evening News (Jinling wan bao) is not permitted to report on the incident of Nanjing newspaper stands being eliminated and forcibly relocated.
[News summary: The Urban Management Bureau of Nanjing plans to shut down and get rid of all periodical stands on city avenues, allowing them only in Xuanwu district. Of the 90 periodical stands that have been shut down, only two have been relocated. The rest of have been completed eliminated.]
Li Gang incident
October 27, 2010
“Liu Xiaobo: the man and what he has done”
October 27, 2010
Please prominently place the story “Liu Xiaobo: the man and what he has done” (Liu Xiaobo qi ren qi shi,” both on the front page and the headline news section. Do not open it to posted comments, and only use this original title.
Incident of a Vehicle Crashing into the Hunan Provincial Party Committee Compound
October 26, 2010
A censorship directive from the Hunan Provincial Propaganda Bureau: It is forbidden to report on the vehicle that crashed into the Hunan Provincial Party Committee compound.
[New summary: On October 26, 2010, at 6:50 am, a small black car crashed into the compound of the Hunan Provincial Party Committee compound. An armed guard was injured, and three cars were damaged. Police detained the driver who caused the disturbance, who is now recovering in the hospital. Reasons for the incident are currently under investigation. The Changsha police department has solemnly declared: “This is definitely not a purposeful attack against a government body.”]
Incident of a Forklift Disturbance at Shijiazhuang
October 25, 2010
The Hubei Provincial Propaganda Bureau has instructed: It is not permitted to report on the forklift disturbance incident at Shijiazhuang
[News summary: On October 23, 2010, in the city of Shijiazhuang, a large forklift ran into several cars, one after the other, and many policeman surrounded it. It is said that the incident occurred in the course of fleeing from a disturbance.]
Diary of a Guangzhou Mistress
October 22, 2010
It is not permitted to report on the diary of the Guangzhou mistress – Guangdong Provincial Propaganda Bureau
[News summary: The mistress of Yao Binhua, the director of the Guangzhou News and Information Bureau, has written a diary of their passion over 20,000 characters long and posted it on the Internet. The hit rate has exploded.]
不准报道广州情妇日记 － 广东省宣传部
Ban on Reporting on the “World Famous Architecture District” Incident in Urumqi
October 22, 2010
Zhang Keling, vice head of the Xinjing provincial party propaganda bureau, has issued a directive: It is forbidden to report on the “World Famous Architecture District” incident in Urumqi.
[Brief overview of the news: Advance sales in the “World Famous Architecture” district of Urumqi start at 6,700, but a national investment group has purchased at 2,700. There is recorded verification from a salesperson for “World Famous Architecture.”]
The report below has already been published in the Xinjiang Digital Times.
Without obtaining a certificate that permits advance sales and selling “certificates of sale” that offer no protection from risk, the property bureau says: “World Famous Architecture” has made illegal sales.
预售证尚未取得就售房 “认购证”不受保护存风险 房产局：“世界名筑”非法销售
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.