Ministry of Truth: Vandalism and Water Pollution

The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by central government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.

Beijing Municipal Propaganda Department: Do not report on the glass that was broken at the [Chairman Mao] Memorial on Tiananmen Square. (February 25, 2013)


Beijing Municipal Propaganda Department: Regarding the trash dumps in the upper reaches of the Miyun Reservoir, all media coverage is to be conducted in accordance with the information released by the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau. Media are not to conduct their own coverage or commentary. From now on, media are to submit drafts of all reports involving public opinion to be examined and approved by the Municipal Propaganda Department. (February 25, 2013)


Two directives from the Beijing Municipal Propaganda Department were reported on February 25, 2013. The first directive referred to an apparent act of vandalism at the Chairman Mao Memorial Mausoleum on Tiananmen Square.

The second directive forbade coverage of trash dump sites near the Miyun Reservoir from deviating from official information released by the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau. Recently, fears spread that the reservoir, which is reported to supply about two-thirds of Beijing’s drinking water, was being contaminated by illegal dumping.

Public awareness of the issue can be traced back to a call by popular Weibo personality Deng Fei for Spring Festival travelers to take note of the condition of the environment in their respective hometowns. Mr. Deng, who is the director of the department of reporting at Hong Kong based Phoenix Weekly, is a champion of environmental causes in China. H generated tremendous buzz on Weibo last week when he accused Shandong officials of forbidding media coverage of illegal pollution in Shandong Province.

Chinese journalists and bloggers often refer to these 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 on CDT Chinese 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.


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