Minitrue: Fury at Censorship of Tycoon’s Arrest
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
Everyone: no media, including new media, may report on Wang XX’s suspected lewd behavior toward an underage girl. Please promptly withdraw any new media content already published. Please acknowledge receipt. (July 1, 2019) [Chinese]
The arrest of property tycoon and National People’s Congress delegate Wang Zhenhua on Monday triggered a collapse in share prices of companies linked to him; the above city-level media directive; and a fierce public and media backlash against both Wang and a Shanghai Propaganda Department official, Lu Yibo, for his role in issuing the order. South China Morning Post’s Zheng Yangpeng reported:
Shares of Future Land Development Holdings Limited, a Shanghai-based property developer, plunged by the most since their 2012 listing in Hong Kong after the company’s founder and chairman Wang Zhenhua was detained by Chinese police over a child molestation charge.
[…] Wang, 57, was detained on Monday on a charge of molesting a nine-year-old girl in a Shanghai hotel, according to Chinese media reports. A company official in Shanghai, who declined to be identified, said Seazen was conducting an internal investigation, declining to elaborate when contacted by the Post. Wang could not be reached, and the Shanghai Public Security Bureau declined to comment.
[…] With his wealth estimated at US$6.4 billion, Wang was ranked China’s 108th richest man last year by Fortune. The tycoon, known as a philanthropist to teenagers in poor rural areas, received a Master of Business Administration degree from Macau University, and an Executive MBA from the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing.
Wang represents his home province of Jiangsu at the nation’s legislature the National People’s Congress, and is a Shanghai delegate at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), as the legislature’s advisory body is called. [Source]
The Financial Times’ Wang Feng highlighted the fury over the case and the backfiring directive:
The censorship has provoked an overwhelming backlash online. Journalists have outed the propaganda official who replayed the order to delete their stories and a huge shaming campaign — of the billionaire chairman and the official, are now in full swing. https://t.co/eS57PWBJNn pic.twitter.com/v9WfrKWLRj
— Wang Feng (@ulywang) July 3, 2019
Shanghai-based English language site Sixth Tone described the anger at Wang in a report on Thursday:
Angry netizens are unleashing their fury on Wang, and the case has sparked debate on how severely child sex offenders should be punished. In a post Wednesday on microblogging platform Weibo, state-run newspaper People’s Daily urged police to determine whether Wang is a first-time offender, whether his actions constituted molestation or rape, and whether a criminal network for supplying child victims to predators might be lurking beneath the surface. [Source]
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