Minitrue Diary, January 16, 2020: U.S. Trade Deal, Sun Wenbin Trial, Japanese Communist Party, etc.

CDT has recently acquired and verified a collection of directives issued by central Party authorities to 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 six directives were released on January 16, 2020.

Please note: do not mention Xi’s message read at the signing ceremony for the phase one agreement. (January 16, 2020) [Chinese]

Regarding China and the U.S. signing the phase one trade agreement:

1. Report on the agreement’s signing ceremony in strict accordance with unified arrangements; do not take independent action.
2. For wire copy on the signing, strictly follow Xinhua copy as the standard. Do not modify headlines, take any independent actions, or cite information from other sources, especially information from outside of China. Strictly adhere to authoritative information when reporting on the press conference held in the U.S. by the Chinese delegation. It is strictly forbidden to republish or report old news about Sino-U.S. trade relations.
3. Promptly find and deal with harmful information suggesting that we submitted or surrendered; playing up one-sided benefit; suggesting that the agreement violates WTO rules; starting or spreading rumors; inciting boycotts of the agreement, fear or adulation of the U.S., or pessimistic views of our economic prospects; or attacking the system or process.
4. Regarding the text of the Sino-U.S. phase one trade agreement, strictly manage all kinds of non-authoritative translated texts and unauthorized circulation of information from abroad until an authoritative version is published by our side. (January 16, 2020) [Chinese]

These were two of several recent directives aimed at limiting coverage of the Phase One trade agreement between China and the U.S., which was signed in Washington by President Trump and Vice Premier Liu He on January 15—an unconventional pairing as usually such deals are signed by two officials of equivalent status. While Xi did not attend the signing, he sent a message for Trump. It had been reported that the two leaders had very different agendas in terms of publicity around the deal. From Zhou Xin of The South China Morning Post:

Trump’s desire for an eye-catching photo opportunity with Xi has always been clear, with the US president looking for a “win” in the trade war to help boost his re-election campaign.

For Xi, however, the timing was off. The text of the agreement had not been finalised and the broader US-China bilateral relationship was clouded by protests in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

[…] “It’s too risky for Xi to travel to the US and put his own name to the trade deal, when it has the potential to be thrown out at the last minute by Trump,” said Eleanor Olcott, China policy analyst at TS Lombard, a research firm. [Source]

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Reminder: Beijing’s Third Intermediate People’s Court is holding hearings on the Sun Wenbin homicide case (involving the doctor killed at the Civil Aviation Hospital). Any reports on this must use authoritative information published by the judge and court, must not exaggerate or hype the story, must not link to or compile information on past incidents of wounded medical personnel, and must not conduct reporting from the scene outside of unified arrangements. (January 16, 2020) [Chinese]

On January 16, Sun Wenbin was sentenced to death for the murder of Dr. Yang Wen, who had treated his 95-year-old mother at Beijing’s Civil Aviation General Hospital. The attack riveted the nation as it raised a number of issues about China’s healthcare system and violence against medical staff when patients and their families are dissatisfied with the results of treatment. From a report by Anna Fifield and Lyric Li in the Washington Post:

An irate man, who for weeks had been complaining about his 95-year-old mother’s treatment, snapped. He started stabbing Yang with a knife after she spent 20 minutes explaining his mother’s treatment options, according to security footage and witness accounts. The attack was so violent, it severed her esophagus, windpipe, arteries and major nerves, and broke her neck.

Emergency doctors tried to save Yang, but she died shortly after midnight, as Christmas Day was beginning.

The attack has dominated the Chinese Internet for a week, partly because of its brutality and because it features protagonists who seem to personify good and evil. But the case has also illustrated the stresses in China’s health-care system, where doctors are in short supply and work in difficult conditions, and raised questions about whether the health insurance system has set doctors and patients against each other. [Source]

An almost identical directive was sent out earlier the same day.

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Promptly deal with inaccurate information and provocative or aggressive comments on the deepening of toll road system reform and work on expanding electronic toll collection. (January 16, 2020) [Chinese]

CDT could not determine which specific event precipitated this directive.

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Remove news related to the story “Beijing: Parking Lot Manager Secretly Took Dirty Money, Multi-departmental Strike Reins Them In” from the front end, and close comments. (January 16, 2020) [Chinese]

CDT could not determine which specific event precipitated this directive.

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Reminder: The Japanese Communist Party has recently shown negative tendencies toward China, with certain of its high-level figures spouting nonsense about the East China and South China Seas, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, denuclearization, and other issues, and carrying out smears and attacks on us. Do not report on, comment on, or republish such negative comments outside of unified arrangements. (January 16, 2020) [Chinese]

At a Party convention, the Japanese Communist Party distanced itself from its Chinese counterpart, accusing the CCP of “great-power chauvinism and hegemonism” for its actions in the East and South China Seas while also condemning Beijing for human rights abuses. From Julian Ryall at The South China Morning Post:

The Japanese Communist Party has moved to distance itself from its erstwhile ideological ally in Beijing, criticising the Chinese Communist Party’s “great-power chauvinism” and accusing it of committing human rights abuses and being a threat to regional peace.

The JCP used its five-day convention in Atami, southwest of Tokyo, to redraw its party platform for the first time in 16 years, with the changes designed to differentiate it from the Chinese party.

[…] The JCP has been particularly offended by the Chinese party’s violation of human rights among its ethnic minorities, [International University of Japan’s Tomohito] Shinoda said, referring to the detention and re-education of over 1 million Muslim people in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, which Beijing says are anti-terrorism efforts. [Source]

真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.


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