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.
Resolutely prevent malicious hyping of the “@Ping’anChaoyang” [Chaoyang Public Security Bureau] account’s notice on the RYB Kindergarten matter. Social media accounts that exaggerate the situation should be closed on sight, or have content deleted. (November 28, 2017) [Chinese]
Claims of child abuse at a Beijing kindergarten caused a public uproar last week, with heavy censorship close behind. The story followed another reported case at a Shanghai daycare center that was similarly heavily targeted by censors. It also roughly coincided with a wave of evictions in Beijing that further stirred middle class anxieties and anger on behalf of more vulnerable members of society.
On Tuesday, the Chaoyang Public Security Bureau posted the notice mentioned above to its Weibo account (available in English thanks to China Law Translate) dismissing most of the accusations. One teacher did prick children with a sewing needle and has been detained, it said. But it claimed that other accusations of molestation and forced medication had been fabricated by parents, who are now said to have confessed and apologized or been detained. The statement concluded:
The public security organs are currently taking further steps in this case. The public security organs will look thoroughly investigate and resolutely punish alleged illegal and criminal harms to minors, in accordance with law. At the same time, they appeal to the public to approach information on the Internet rationally. The public security organs will strictly handle intentional fabrication and dissemination of rumors. [Source]
The statement explained data loss from the school’s surveillance system as the result of a janitor repeatedly cutting its power supply without properly shutting it down to keep it quiet outside school hours. (The woman lived in the room where the equipment was installed.) 113 hours of video were successfully recovered, and reportedly show no sign of children being mistreated. These claims have met widespread skepticism, however.
The New York-listed RYB Education now faces a class action lawsuit on behalf of investors hit by a nearly 40% drop in its shares last week, although the stock has recovered somewhat since.
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.