CDT has recently acquired and verified a collection of propaganda directives issued by central Party authorities to state media at the beginning of this year. These directives were issued on an almost daily basis in early 2020, and we will be posting them over the coming weeks. The following directive was released on January 11, 2020.
A new round of elections for regional leadership and local representation in Taiwan will be held on January 11, 2020. Related plans and requirements are as follows:
1. To report the election results, you may utilize or consult Xinhua copy. Election results are not to be forecast in advance;
2. Voting and ballot information on the election may be briefly reported, but the quantity of reports must be strictly controlled. Do not quote Taiwanese, Hong Kong, or foreign media without authorization. Do not send push notifications, do not create feature sections or columns, and do not provide any form of live coverage using text, radio, TV, livestream, or mobile clients. Do not provide live coverage through company or personal Weibo, WeChat public accounts, [WeChat] feeds or other new media platforms. Do not interview candidates, campaign team leaders, or other politically sensitive persons on the island;
3. Taiwan-related emergency situations that occurred during, before, or after the elections may be briefly and objectively reported in accordance with Xinhua copy. Do not independently conduct interviews or reports without authorization. (January 11, 2020) [Chinese]
This directive echoed a nearly identical one issued on January 9 as Taipei prepared for its January 11 presidential election. On election day, incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen took 57 percent of the vote, decisively defeating Beijing-backed Kuomintang challenger Han Kuo-yu. One year prior, Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party suffered a major slump in public approval, but over 2019 opinion shifted drastically in her favor. Tsai’s steady support for the Hong Kong protest movement and defiance of Beijing’s increasing belligerence towards Taiwan and her campaign allowed her to successfully turn the election into a referendum on democracy and self-governance. An earlier January 6 censorship directive also forbade live coverage of the election and its lead-up.
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.