The following example of censorship instructions, issued to the media and/or Internet companies by various central (and sometimes local) government authorities, has 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.
Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The original publication date is noted after the directives; the date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.
Central Propaganda Department: Concerning the five boys who froze to death in Bijie, Guizhou, you may report moderately on the incident according to Xinhua wire copy and authoritative information released by the local government. Do not put this news on the front page, do not lure readers to the story, do not link to the story, to do not comment on it, and do not dispatch journalists to the scene. (November 20, 2012)
Last Friday, the bodies of five boys between the ages of nine and 13 were found in a dumpster in the city of Bijie, Guizhou, China’s poorest province. Most sources report the children died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a fire they lit inside to keep warm. Their parents had been searching for them weeks before they were found. Several local officials and two school masters have been fired following the incident.