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 four directives were released on January 12 and 13, 2020.
A reminder: The two elections for regional leadership and public representatives in Taiwan took place on January 11.
1. After results are announced, refer to Xinhua News reports. 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 push pop-ups, do not open special topics or columns, and live reports are not allowed in any form of text, broadcast, television, online video, or mobile broadcast. Live broadcast is also prohibited on work unit or individuals’ social media including Weibo, WeChat public accounts, or other new media platforms. Do not interview relevant candidates, members of campaigns, or other politically sensitive figures 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 reporting without authorization. (January 12, 2020) [Chinese]
The three instructions here are identical to those issued the previous day, governing coverage of Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections. President Tsai Ing-wen won a record victory, while her Democratic Progressive Party secured a slightly narrowed majority.
The directive’s reference to the "regional leadership" rather than "presidential" election reflects a longstanding ban on the use of official titles acknowledging Taiwan’s status as a separate country, "even with the use of quotation marks."
Remove the segment "Type 055 Destroyer ‘Nanchang’ Enters Naval Fleet," which aired on CCTV’s “China News” on January 13, 2020 at 7:00. Upload the segment after it has been processed. Tidy up and check your work. (January 13, 2020) [Chinese]
The guided missile destroyer Nanchang was formally commissioned on January 13, marking what Xinhua hailed as a "generational leap" for China’s—or, rather, the Party’s—naval forces. The ship had previously sailed in the PLA Navy’s 70th Anniversary celebrations last year, but many of its systems were not yet complete. Chinese military sources reportedly told South China Morning Post that the event had been pushed back two days to avoid rocking the boat and stirring an electoral backlash in Taiwan.
China is expected to have its first group of eight Type 055 destroyers afloat by the end of 2020, though full combat readiness will take several more years. The vessels are armed against land, air, surface, and submarine targets, and are expected to play a key role in carrier and amphibious assault groups. According to a Pentagon report published early this month, the PLA Navy is now the world’s largest, bolstering the armed forces’ role as "a practical instrument of [CCP] statecraft with an active role in advancing the PRC’s foreign policy, particularly with respect to the PRC’s increasingly global interests and its aims to revise aspects of the international order."
Concerning Comrade [Vice Premier] Liu He’s January 13-15 trip to the United States to sign Phase One of an economic trade agreement, with no exception: do not organize reports without prior arrangement, do not send push notifications, do not reprint unfavorable foreign reports without authorization. On social media platforms, do not set up special topics, recommendations, or other collections. Strictly supervise influential accounts, referring to the above requirements. Promotion without authorization is strictly forbidden. (January 13, 2020) [Chinese]
These instructions largely echo a similar order on Liu’s visit from January 9. Another directive issued repeatedly with minor variations barred independent reporting, unauthorized push notifications, republication of foreign coverage, special topic pages, and sensationalist coverage of the trade deal itself.
Xi Jinping met with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw on January 18. The two sides agreed to jointly build a community with a shared future, and have since vowed to further advance ties, cooperation.
The vision of "a community of shared future for humankind" has been a core element of Xi-era foreign policy rhetoric. Last year, the Communication University of China opened the country’s first research center devoted to the concept. The phrase has also been included in U.N. Human Rights Council resolutions, in what both China and its critics have described as a demonstration of the country’s "growing influence and ability to set the agenda in international human rights governance."
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.