Ministry of Truth: Sweeping Sun Zhigang’s Tomb
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
Central Propaganda Department: With regards to the relatives of Sun Zhigang conducting tomb sacrifices and renovations in his hometown of Huanggang, Hubei Province and related issues, the media are not to participate, report, or comment. Do not go there to investigate. (March 19, 2013)
Sun Zhigang was a 27-year-old man living in Guangzhou who was beaten to death while in detention on March 20, 2003. He had been detained for not carrying proper identification and was held under an administrative procedure called Custody and Repatriation. The case generated public outrage and became one of the first instances of online public opinion in China influencing policy when the Custody and Repatriation system was subsequently abolished.
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.