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 17, 2020.
On January 17, the National Bureau of Statistics will make an announcement on the state of national economic performance in 2019. Regarding its reference to the total population of China’s mainland reaching 1.4 billion, related reports should play it safe, play down their treatment, guard against deviation, and not call population statistics into question. Do not hype matters such as “China 1.4 Billion Population Day,” population crisis, low fertility rates, demographic aging, the shrinking number of children, the dissipation of demographic dividends, “growing old before growing rich,” comprehensive relaxation of birth restrictions, encouragement of childbearing, social support payments, and so on. Do not draw connections or compile features, and do not reprint foreign reports without authorization. Do not create special topics, do not send pop-up alerts, and promptly clean up extreme and negative information and harmful comments. (January 17, 2020) [Chinese]
On January 17, the National Bureau of Statistics announced that the Chinese economy grew by 6.1% in 2019, hitting its target but marking its slowest growth rate since 1990. The report also revealed that China’s birth rate had hit its lowest rate since the PRC’s founding in 1949, raising fears of a “demographic time bomb.” The government has tried to encourage more births by loosening the decades old One-Child Policy in 2015, but the rising cost of living and other concerns have made many parents wary of having more than one child.
In publicity for tonight’s Web Gala, do not mention the identity of the winner in the final competition between hosts Zhou Yu and Yu Xiwen. (January 17, 2020) [Chinese]
On January 17, China Media Group broadcast a Web Gala to mark “Little Chinese New Year,” one week before the official New Year’s Eve, when CCTV traditionally broadcasts the main Spring Festival Gala. Yu Xiwen and Zhou Yu both hosted the event but CDT could find no coverage of their reported final competition.
Regarding the 2020 Spring Festival Gala:
1. Regarding general complaints and criticisms, limit the total number and water them down, gradually pulling them backstage, and keep rot from spreading. Promptly clean up spoofs, vulgar skits and videos, personal attacks, etc. Firmly block and delete content that exploits the Spring Festival Gala to attack our country’s social system, socialist core values, ideological management, etc.
2. Strengthen management of Weibo, WeChat, comments, posts, and livestreams. Promptly and safely deal with harmful information.
3. Do not hype negative information about the Spring Festival Gala, and do not link negative news involving Spring Festival subsidiary events to the Gala itself. (January 17, 2020) [Chinese]
The CCTV Spring Festival Gala, broadcast on Lunar New Year’s Eve every year, is one of the most watched, and most frequently ridiculed programs on Chinese state TV. This year’s gala fell on January 24, amid the initial novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. Censors have limited content about the gala in previous years through censorship directives and lists of sensitive search words.
Do not raise questions or hype the film title change from “China Women’s Volleyball Team” to “Leap.” (January 17, 2020) [Chinese]
The Alibaba-produced dramatization of the Chinese national volleyball team’s journey from 1981 to its latest Olympic gold in 2016, starring Gong Li as coach Lang Ping, was forced to change its name over likeliness and naming rights. A separate pair of directives issued on January 18 also noted controversy over the portrayal of some of its subjects.
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.