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.
Immediately launch strict control measures for the “Spring Festival Gala.” Please make arrangements for affiliated self-media. Do not publish vile expressions of opinion, such as comments ridiculing the gala. Do not employ aggregation style, or gather provocative attacks or negative information following the gala, etc; permanently close any accounts found to be responsible for these. Please reply once received, thank you. (January 27, 2017) [Chinese]
To welcome the Year of the Rooster, CCTV held and broadcast its annual Spring Festival Gala, the world’s most widely-watched television event. Past criticism and mockery of the gala’s patriotic tone has raised its political sensitivity, leading to heightened media and security controls. At The Wall Street Journal, Josh Chin reports on security teams’ efforts to control drones and other flying devices in the scenic southern city of Guilin, where a portion of the event was filmed:
Spring Festival Gala security teams stationed in Guilin say they have shot down multiple drones as they battled an epidemic of aerial spying over an outdoor set in one of the city’s parks, the state-run Guilin Daily newspaper reported Friday.
As of Tuesday, the paper said, drones had invaded the central staging area in Guilin a total of 24 times. Security forces had managed to shoot down and confiscate six drones, it said.
[…] According to state media, the Guilin portion will be broadcast from Elephant Trunk Hill, a lush park at the confluence of the Li and Taohua rivers named for a karst formation that looks like an elephant drinking from the water. It will feature 600 mostly ethnic-minority performers, 2000 costumes, 1,800 props and lots of neon lighting, a CCTV report said Friday.
[…] Since Jan. 4, security teams in the area had stepped up vigilance against drones, hang gliders, paragliders, hot-air balloons, model airplanes, floating lanterns and other small, low-flying aircraft, according to Guizhou Daily. They had also set up a no-fly zone within a five-kilometer radius of the stage, and established three “drone-control defensive perimeters,” it said.
Guizhou Daily didn’t say who was operating the drones, or why police were also concerned about the other types of aircraft. […] [Source]
Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. Some instructions are issued by local authorities or to specific sectors, and may not apply universally across China. 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.