Minitrue: July 1 Anniversaries, Shanghai School Attack

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.

Important points for implementation by those on duty on July 1:

1) Immediately update Party propaganda contributions, giving important content appropriate page placement to ensure successful traffic guidance;

2) Strictly control interactive sections and put an end to inflammation of public opinion by hotspot incidents over the past few days.

3) Filter out sensitive content related to July 1 and Hong Kong or Taiwan, and freeze the operational privileges of accounts writing and disseminating it. (July 1) [Chinese]

July 1 is the anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party and of the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China. The latter was marked by protests on Sunday amid anxiety over "rapidly deteriorating" freedom.

The "hotspot incidents" referred to in the directive likely include a knife attack outside a primary school on Thursday. Reuters reported that two children were killed by a man whom police described as "unemployed and angry at society." According to Sixth Tone, eight people have been punished for starting or spreading rumors related to the case. Violent incidents and especially harm to children are frequent targets for censors.

A screenshot believed to be from an internal WeChat group for the Shanghai Morning Post included further instructions for coverage of the case. It shows messages from Chen Yi, a member of the Shanghai Morning Post Community Media Corporation’s supervisory board; Fan Wei, one of the newspaper’s reporters; and Yang Weizhong, its editor in chief.

Chen Yi: All department heads, regarding today’s knife attack story on Pubei Road in Xuhui district: please execute previous instructions to the letter, don’t expand coverage, don’t exaggerate or hype, and absolutely don’t report on flowers or candles left as memorials. Notify department staff that no such information may be posted or reposted from any kind of online accounts; if they have already done so, please delete. Everyone please take action to implement these requirements well.

Fan Wei: Received.

Yang Weizhong: Everyone, be sure to keep these requirements secret. Don’t spread related requirements. (June 28) [Chinese]

真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.