The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
Central Propaganda Department: Regarding the epidemic situation in Shanghai, give first place to Xinhua wire copy and information issued by authoritative departments. Avoid confusion of information. Report discreetly on related issues, and do not sensationalize them. (April 10, 2013)
The unnamed “epidemic” most likely refers to the H7N9 strain of avian flu, with 38 known cases and 10 deaths so far. A report issued yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine describes the course of the disease in three patients from Shanghai and Anhui Province, who suffered brain damage, multiple organ failure, pneumonia, and septic shock. All three patients died.
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.