The following propaganda instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
All websites: without exception, do not live broadcast the World Internet Conference in any form. During the Conference, do not hype internet banquets, or the clothing worn or circumstances of, etc., internet company big shots. Regarding banquets between internet firms and big shots, do not conduct interviews, report, or re-post news. (November 6, 2018) [Chinese]
The fifth annual World Internet Conference began today in Wuzhen, Zhejiang. Xi’s concept of “internet sovereignty,” or the idea that countries have the right to decide how the internet is managed inside their borders, is expected to again be promoted at this year’s event.
Amid Xi Jinping’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign, the gluttony of elites has become a sensitive political issue. This can be seen in the “sensitive” nickname “dinner party” (Gòngchǎndǎng 共餐党) for the CCP–an allusion to notoriously excessive banquets enjoyed by officials. In years past, Chinese media have put focus on WIC banquets, a spotlight that authorities are apparently attempting to prevent in domestic coverage of this year’s event.
During last year’s WIC, a censorship directive forbade content “attacking” the conference, specifically listing several netizen-generated nicknames poking fun at the irony of China–a country where internet access is highly contained by the Great Firewall–hosting a “World Internet” dialogue. Covering the opening of this year’s event, the South China Morning Post notes that four U.S. firms, including Tesla and Amazon, were the only non-Chinese companies on a list of 15 “World Leading Internet Scientific and Technological Achievements” released today at the conference.
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.