The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.
All websites are to stop re-publishing and recommending the People’s Daily commentary “I Can Massacre the City, You Can’t Say a Word.” (June 12, 2014)
On Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry confirmed that Beijing had submitted documents on the Nanjing Massacre and Japan’s use of wartime “comfort women” to the UN to be considered for inclusion in the UNESCO Memory of the World register. Most recent reports say that UNESCO has accepted China’s application.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary denounced China’s application, saying, “At a time when efforts are needed to improve Japan-China relations, it is extremely regrettable that China moved to make political use of the UNESCO forum and to unnecessarily play up the negative legacy of ties from a period of the past.” State run newspaper People’s Daily in turn published a castigation of the Japanese official, titled “I Can Massacre the City, You Can’t Say a Word” (我可以屠城 你不能出声, a rhyming couplet when read in Mandarin: wǒ kěyi túchéng nǐ bùnéng chūshēng).
While the title was cleverly rhymed, the timing of its publication was a bit less shrewd. The headline came just over a week after the 25th anniversary of the June 4th government crackdown on Tiananmen protesters—an event also unofficially called a “massacre,” discussion about which the government strictly forbids. Some netizens took note:
佃农理论: What a careless editor. The date-stamp is over a week late…
编辑粗心了，日期标晚了一个多礼拜… (今天 00:23)
迷你猫710：That’s right! There’s already been 25 years of silence
没错！已经无声二十五年了 (今天 03:01)
吃东西336：It would have been so awesome if this were published 8 days ago
这篇8天前发就牛比大了 (今天 02:33)
GZ动物：Ought to switch up a couple of those characters. Don’t forget, it’s still June
要换俩字吧，别忘了现在还是六月噢 (今天 01:57)
CDT collects directives from a variety of sources and checks 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 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.