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 kindly asked to prominently display Xinhua and CCTV coverage of Guo Meimei, and to actively organize and direct commentary. (August 4, 2014)
On August 4, state broadcaster CCTV aired [Chinese] 23-year-old Guo Meimei confessing to prostitution and arranging gambling events. Detained by police on July 10 for alleged involvement in a World Cup gambling ring, Guo achieved Internet infamy in 2011 after posting photos of her lavish lifestyle from a social media account crediting her as the “commercial general manager” at the Red Cross Society of China. Guo’s claim further sullied the reputation of an organization already the target of public distrust; the Red Cross has been implicated in several other scandals unrelated to Guo. The South China Morning Post has translated part of her televised confession:
The New York Times notes that Guo also offered an apology to the Red Cross and all the people her lie may have affected:
She also expressed remorse for having damaged the reputation of the Red Cross and denied having any association with the charity organization. “Because of my own vanity, I made a huge mistake,” she said in the video confession. “I would like to offer my deep apologies to the Red Cross,” she said tearfully as she bowed her head. “And even deeper apologies to the public and even deeper apologies to the people who have not been rescued.” [Source]
The televised confession came as a 6.1 magnitude earthquake left nearly 400 casualties in Yunnan, and just after a factory explosion in Jiangsu killed 68. Offbeat China translates Weibo comments showing netizen outrage at the media’s priorities:
After People’s Daily posted 12 reports on Guo in a row on Weibo without even mentioning the Yunan earthquake this morning, many netizens couldn’t help but drop the F-bomb. “Are these state media nuts? Why the hell do they give Guo more media attention than those earthquake victims?” Many netizens asked.
“You don’t care about the several hundred lives lost in Yunnan. You don’t care about the inglorious factory that has took away dozens of hardworking lives. And now what? You suddenly care about Guo Meimei? After ignoring years of calls for her investigation?” One netizens angrily commented.
Even worse, many netizens seem to believe that these reports of Guo are but a PR run by China Red Cross in the time of an earthquake when they need to call for donations again. As many netizens asked: “Is the current heavy media takedown of Gou Meimei a pre-donation run for China Red Cross?” [Source]
Following the deadly earthquake, the Red Cross Society of China is urging the nation to forget about Guo Meimei, and think about those in the earthquake zone. From the Wall Street Journal:
“Numerous people have been fighting through the night for the rescue operation, as now time really is life. Is there anything more important, more urgent, more worthy of the investment of our hearts and souls?” the foundation said on its official microblogging site.
[…] The Red Cross denies any connection to Ms. Guo. Officials announced on Sunday that Ms. Guo has been in no way connected to the Red Cross, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.
“So from this moment, forget about her, and put the limited energy and resources into this disaster, ” the foundation said Monday. The people hit by the earthquake will need supplies immediately, the Red Cross notes on its microblog. [Source]
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.