Ministry of Truth: Reporting on Official Corruption
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: Strictly adhere to the information issued by authoritative departments when reporting on officials suspected of involvement in graft or bribery, who have become degenerate, and related issues. Do not speculate on or exaggerate these issues. Do not investigate or report of your own accord. Do not quote from online sources. (December 1, 2012)
This year, official corruption has been revealed at all levels of the Chinese government, from Watch Brother to Bo Xilai. Social media gives ordinary people a platform to publicize, critique, and lampoon officials. While the censors cannot pin down every weibo, they can keep a lid on official media.