Minitrue: WeChat Group Controls for Qingdao Summit
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.
Friendly reminder: with the opening of the Qingdao summit, backend inspection and control of WeChat has reached the highest level. Accounts posting content that violates regulations may be permanently deleted. Starting from 9:30 this morning until the end of the summit, no changes may be made to any account’s profile picture, nickname, or username. Accordingly, everyone please refrain from disorderly WeChat posting. (June 5) [Chinese]
The notice, referring to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit to be held in Qingdao on June 9-10, was reportedly sent to administrators of large WeChat groups. Regulations introduced last October made administrators legally responsible for moderating content and behavior within their groups.
The SCO summit will be the first since India and Pakistan became full members last year. Xinhua noted this week that SCO member states now account "for over 60 percent of the Eurasian landmass, nearly half of the world’s population, and more than 20 percent of global GDP." It added that the summit is expected to focus on maximizing benefits from this expansion, and on promoting the "Shanghai Spirit" of "mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development."
At China Media Project on Sunday, David Bandurski noted that the SCO also held its first Media Summit in Beijing last Friday, with China promoting joint efforts "to break what it sees as Western dominance of the global narrative on governance" and "’build a public opinion environment more beneficial to regional peace, development and stability.’"
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.