The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
Regarding ITV’s broadcast documentary “Barbarous Country: Saudi Arabia Uncovered,” do not report or hype this item. Control the temperature of discussion on Weibo, message boards, forums, etc. with interactive sections. (March 24, 2016)[Chinese]
On March 22, ITV broadcast “Exposure: Saudi Arabia Uncovered,” a “documentary revealing the hidden and secret reality inside Saudi Arabia.” The documentary can be seen in its entirety on YouTube.
The documentary highlights issues with partial parallels in China, like income inequality, restrictions on media access, and the struggles of political and women’s rights activists. Moreover, its suggestion that it may be “time to reassess our relationship” with “a key ally of the West” challenges Chinese claims that Western human rights pressure is simply an insincere effort to undermine a perceived rival.
The Xi administration has been working to expand ties with the oil-rich Arab state. Meanwhile, China is engaged in a heavy-handed crackdown on terrorism in the Xinjiang region, and authorities have expressed concern on the rising influence of Salafism—an ultraconservative Sunni reform ideology promoted by Saudi leaders—in Muslim communities in China.
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. See CDT’s collection of Directives from the Ministry of Truth since 2011.