The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
On April 19 Beijing time, foreign media will live broadcast the online concert “One World: Together at Home.” According to regulations relevant to the management of internet video programs, broadcasting this program, regardless if by recording or rebroadcasting, must be approved by radio and television management departments at the provincial level or higher, and content declaration procedures must be completed. Each online, televised, or radio program is forbidden from broadcasting or webcasting the concert without authorization.
– Online Audiovisual Program Management Department of the State Administration of the National Radio and Television Administration (April 17, 2020) [Chinese]
With many people across the globe under lockdown or shelter-in-place measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO and the U.S.-based nonprofit Global Poverty Project’s Global Citizen movement will host the “One World: Together at Home” benefit concert on April 19. The event, which features dozens of popular comedians, musicians, and celebrities, is described by organizers as “a global broadcast and digital special to support frontline healthcare workers and the WHO.”
The broadcast special and related Chinese directive come as China is lifting some of its own domestic epidemic restrictions, and as both China and the WHO are being criticized for misleading early information about the novel coronavirus.
Already highly tense before the pandemic, U.S.-China relations have recently been further strained by back-and-forth COVID-19 blaming. After a short-lived sign of a possible diplomatic thaw, President Trump this week announced a temporary halt of WHO funding, citing the organization’s decision to take China’s virus claims “at face value,” and accusing it of “severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of coronavirus,” while praising his own decision to suspend travel from China. China’s foreign ministry criticized the U.S. decision for “undermining international anti-pandemic cooperation” and pledged Beijing’s continuing support for the WHO.