The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
Former Chinese premier Li Peng died at age 91 (90 according to the Western calendar) on July 22. The controversial leader was widely know as the “Butcher of Beijing” for declaring martial law during the pro-democracy protests that were quashed by a deadly crackdown on June 4, 1989. The top headline on the front page of the July 24 edition of the Beijing Youth Daily read “Comrade Li Peng Dies at Age 91,” and sat just above a picture of smiling youth holding flowers:
Radio Free Asia (Chinese) coverage of the mismatched photo, which suggested to many that the youth may have been celebrating the death of the controversial politician, notes that the picture showed Chinese participants in the 2019 International Mathematical Olympiad returning home after winning gold medals. RFA also noted that Beijing Youth Daily hastily withdrew the electronic version of the July 24 edition.
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