Ministry of Truth: Scams, Sewers, Constitution
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
A family in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province had donated 400 yuan per month to a girl in Xiajiang, Jiangxi Province for her school fees, starting when she began elementary school. They arranged for her to work in Guangdong after she graduated. The young woman finally had the opportunity to thank her benefactors–for the 40 yuan a month they sent her. An investigation into the missing funds [zh], donated through Project Hope, is ongoing.
Central Propaganda Department: In coverage of Zhang Dejiang’s speech at the 12th National People’s Congress, follow central and authoritative media as the standard. The media must not comment or report on constitutional government. (March 16, 2013)
Zhang was elected chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) on March 14. At the closing of the NPC on March 16, Zhang said, “It is the primary task for people’s congresses at all levels and their standing committees to uphold the rule of law and safeguard the authorities of the Constitution and the laws.” But Hangzhou lawyer Wang Cheng wrote to the Supreme People’s Court on March 22 to protest Zhang’s election as unconstitutional. Article 65 states, “No one on the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress shall hold any post in any of the administrative, judicial or procuratorial organs of the state.” Zhang only stepped down as vice premier two days after his election.
Hunan Propaganda Department: Regarding the incident of the Changsha girl who fell into a sewer and went missing, the media are not to play up or exaggerate the story. Unify coverage in accordance with authoritative information from the relevant departments. (April 1, 2013)
A 21-year-old university student fell into an open manhole during a torrential storm on March 22. The search ended unsuccessfully on the 25th.
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.