The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
Telephone Notice #1, Evening of March 5:
- Handle reporting on changes to the state president and vice-president’s terms with caution. Do not report, reprint, or comment. Strengthen management of posts and comments on a CNN reporter’s questions on the issue of term limits, and delete and block harmful information or inappropriate comments without exception.
- Do not hype matters related to personal income tax, and do not publish speculative reports on the changes to tax thresholds.
- Handle dissemination of reports on the deepening of Party and state structural reform with caution. Without exception, no media may perform independent activities before the Central Propaganda Department’s official announcement of the proposal.
- Do not hype topics related to genetic modification, Chinese national culture, the “Two Sessions blue,” etc. [The “blue” refers to improved air quality that is often experienced in Beijing during important meetings, such as APEC.]
- Do not report on events related to foreign investment firms’ successive withdrawal from China. Do not re-post or comment on related news.
- Handle government work reports with caution, interpret condensed versions to accord with media versions etc.; take precautions against generalizations; put an end to sensational headlines.
- Further strengthen the management of press conferences; do not take pictures of internal congressional documents; do not report or publicly disseminate on the internet internal work information. (March 5, 2018) [Chinese]
The above censorship directives were issued by Henan’s provincial propaganda department on March 5, the opening day of the “Two Sessions” annual meetings of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing. This is the first of four lists of directives obtained and translated by CDT that will be published this week.
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.