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.
Regarding the “Death of a Top-scorer from a Poor Family” incident: no website is to report again without unified prior arrangement. Strictly control the temperature [of this story], create a happy and pleasant New Year atmosphere. (January 30, 2019) [Chinese]
An article titled “The Death of a Top-scorer From a Poor and Humble Family,” presented as a true story by self-media WeChat account @才华有限青年 on January 29, told the story of a poor scholar from a humble family who was the top-scorer on the sciences college entrance exam. While attending university, the article said that he also worked as a laborer to raise money for his younger sister to go to college, but he ultimately died from an illness. After the essay was shared widely online, it began to attract a wide range of criticism from readers who questioned its authenticity, characterized it as sensational, and suggested it may have been largely fabricated. The article is no longer available online, but the company behind the account has insisted the story is true, apart from some details changed for the sake of privacy.
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.