Minitrue: No Unauthorized Reports on U.S. Midterms

The following  instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.

All websites: regarding the US midterm elections, do not conduct live broadcasts or aggregate special topic pages. Do not cite foreign media reports, and do not conduct reporting without prior arrangement. (November 7, 2018) [Chinese]

As votes were being tallied in the U.S. midterm elections, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying declined at some length to answer questions about the election and its potential impact on Sino-U.S. relations and trade, due to it being a “domestic affair of the U.S.” Coverage of the topic from Bloomberg noted that the ongoing U.S./China didn’t appear to top voters’ lists of issues, while CNBC reported the midterm election results to be unlikely to change the downward trajectory of the bilateral relationship, with both Democrats and Republicans supporting a tougher stance on trade and IP with China.

U.S. politics in the Trump era have been a regular focus of Chinese censorship directives. Ahead of President Trump’s inauguration in January of last year, Chinese media were directed to follow official copy on U.S. relations, and not to print “unauthorized criticism of Trump’s words”; a separate leaked directive forbade independent reporting on the inauguration on news websites or social media accounts. As trade tensions were ramping up earlier this year, a lengthy directive forbade media from relaying Trump’s comments, attacking his vulgarity, and “making this a war of insults.” Last month, a propaganda directive highlighted two articles to be shared widely, reinforcing a standardized line on Sino-U.S. relations.

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.