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.
Last month, Alibaba founder and richest man in China Jack Ma attracted social media criticism for a Weibo post interpreted by many as being supportive of the “996” culture in China’s tech industry–referring to 9AM to 9PM workdays six days a week. Ma also said in a recent speech to employees that he thought it was a “huge blessing that we can work 996,” and that if someone wants to work at his company they should be prepared for 12-hour daily shifts. Ma’s comments came after Chinese tech workers launched a viral Github campaign in protest of the grueling work culture, which was blocked by web browsers from some Chinese tech companies, but has found support from tech workers in the U.S.
Netizens have since begun poking fun at Ma by creating parody music videos. One such video, titled “Poor Overtime” (穷加班) splices together video footage of Ma to appear as if the tech billionaire is singing in autotune. Some of the lyrics from that video include:
“I start another day of work
I’ll work til 9:30
I love to work overtime everyday
I still want my salary to rise
But I’m afraid I won’t even be able to eat […] ”
“996 isn’t the problem
The problem is that it’s compulsory […]” [Chinese]
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.