Word of the Week: Ministry of Truth

Editor’s Note: The Word of the Week comes from China Digital Space’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and frequently encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around censorship and political correctness.  If you are interested in participating in this project by submitting and/or translating terms, please contact the CDT editors at CDT [at] chinadigitaltimes [dot] net.

真理部 (Zhēnlǐ Bù): Ministry of Truth

The “Ministry of Truth” refers collectively to the Central Propaganda Department, the Internet Affairs Office of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and all other subordinate bodies involved in propaganda controls.

The Central Propaganda Department ensures that media and cultural content follow the official line as mandated by the Chinese Communist Party. Below the Central Propaganda Department is the State Council Information Office (SCIO), which in turn manages the Internet Affairs Bureau, responsible for overseeing all websites that publish news. The Internet Affairs Bureau sends out specific instructions to all large news websites daily, often multiple times per day. These instructions can take several forms: they may be directives to not report a certain event, to restrict reporting to Xinhua News wires or to not “play up” a certain event.

The “Ministry of Truth” has its origin in George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which Ministry’s mission is to rewrite history and manufacture “truth.”

China Digital Times publishes leaked “directives” from the “Ministry of Truth.”