Ministry of Truth: White House Petition Goes Viral
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
Central Propaganda Department: If producing reports concerning the thallium poisoning of Tsinghua University student Zhu Ling, all media and website coverage must without exception accord with authoritative information from the relevant Beijing municipal departments. Do not challenge [the information from the authorities] and do not sensationalize the story. (May 7, 2013)
After the poisoning death of a Fudan University student last month, Zhu Ling’s 19-year-old case roared back to life on the Chinese Internet. Many netizens suspect Zhu’s former roommate, Sun Wei, now lives in the U.S. and goes by Jasmine Sun. A petition on the White House platform We the People to “investigate and deport” Sun, posted on May 3, now has over 131,000 signatures, exceeding the threshold for an official response from the Obama administration. The petition is a hot topic on Weibo, where netizens are echoing journalist Luo Changping’s remark that the White House is now the “Bureau of Letters and Calls of the People’s Republic of China.”
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.