Minitrue: Manage Comments on Shanghai Daycare Abuse

The following  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.

XX City Information and Online News Management Department:

1. Close down comment sections on coverage of the Ctrip daycare mistreatment incident, including on Weibo and WeChat. There are no new public responses on the incident, do not publish or repost related reports.

2. In coming days, the Chuxiong Intermediate People’s Court of Province will issue a second trial verdict on clashes between villagers from Shangrila, Diqing, Province and villagers from Xiangcheng, Gancheng, Province over a resource dispute that led to conflict. Websites and other new media must not cover, report, comment, or reprint foreign information regarding this case.

3. Do not send any more push notifications concerning the Ctrip daycare mistreatment incident. Related news must be moved to after websites’ third page. Manage comments on the Women’s Federation’s statement, and promptly delete any accusatory comments. (November 10, 2017) [Chinese]

Following allegations of at a Shanghai daycare center that was set up by Chinese travel service provider Ctrip and utilized by its employees, police released surveillance videos showing mistreatment of young children. BBC’s coverage notes massive online outcry after the videos circulated on Weibo:

Tens of thousands of social media users have taken the popular Sina Weibo microblogging site, expressing anger and concern about the incident.

“This is shocking, I am a preschool teacher and a mother,” says one user. “I watched this video, and I felt sick, anger and fear all at the same time,” she said, receiving 4,000 likes.

Another user added: “There are frequently cases of child abuse coming out into the open. Is the government going to improve its education and assessment of nursery school teachers?” The comment has been liked over 9,000 times. [Source]

Sixth Tone’s Ni Dandan reports on the instances of abuse shown in the surveillance videos, related firings at the center, and the subsequent protest by parents:

In one video, a female staff member pushes a little girl, causing her to fall and hit her head against a desk. In another, a child cries interminably after being forced to eat something that his parents later discovered was wasabi.

The staff involved have been fired, the center’s management announced in a statement on Wednesday morning. The company also called police to investigate on Tuesday and established an emergency group to address the issue.

[…] Designed for children aged 18 months to 3 years — the minimum age to qualify for a place at a public kindergarten — the day care center was open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every weekday, for a monthly fee of 2,580 yuan ($390). One employee told Sixth Tone’s sister publication, The Paper, that staff had welcomed the facility, as many had difficulties balancing work and child care, and that there was even a long waiting list. Shanghai has a drastic shortage of child care services.

The two filmed incidents reportedly occurred on Nov. 1 and 3, but parents did not find out until this week, after which they demanded to see the surveillance footage, which was later leaked. By Wednesday, angry parents had gathered at the center to protest [Source]

China Daily notes that the Shanghai Women’s Federation, a shareholder in the company that Ctrip had contracted to manage the center’s operations, announced on social media that four had been fired over the incident.

On Twitter, Financial Times Chinese chief editor Wang Feng notes that despite the high-profile Trump-Xi summit that was occurring as news of the daycare incident broke, the latter attracted the lion’s share of netizen attention:

In regards to the second directive listed above, CDT’s Chinese and English editors were unable to find news online regarding the upcoming Chuxiong Intermediate People’s Court verdict.

真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.