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 19, 2020.
All departments please strictly review web page layout and content recommendations to ensure that content involving actors with unsavory track records doesn’t appear. When producing original programs that touch on internet celebrities or characters, you must conduct a comprehensive investigation to prevent sensitive, negative content. (January 19, 2020) [Chinese]
CDT editors were unable to confidently identify any particular story, event, or piece of content likely to have inspired this directive. In the two days before this directive, a controversial documentary about China’s national volleyball team was the subject of several censorship directives. Subjects in the film had claimed that they were unfairly maligned.
Regarding the matter of the recent Japanese legislator visiting Taiwan to deliver so-called congratulations to Tsai Ing-wen, uniformly do not report or republish foreign news media. (January 19, 2020) [Chinese]
On January 17, Japanese lawmaker Keiji Furuya, chair of the Japan-ROC parliamentary friendship association, visited Taiwan, where he delivered congratulations to recently re-elected Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on behalf of then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Several earlier detailed directives focused on limiting coverage of Taiwan’s election and results.
On January 20, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission will release the latest official update on the novel coronavirus pneumonia. When republishing, strictly use content from official government bulletins, do not tamper with the headline, do not individually gather or compose news, do not hype or relate old text. Conjecture is strictly prohibited. (January 19, 2020) [Chinese]
Reminder: Relevant departments and regions will publish new information on the novel coronavirus epidemic situation. When republishing, strictly use content from official government bulletins, do not tamper with the headline, do not individually gather or compose news, do not hype or relate old text. Conjecture is strictly prohibited. (January 19, 2020) [Chinese]
As the novel coronavirus appeared in Wuhan late last year, Chinese authorities acted immediately to restrict information about the emerging crisis, disciplining eight medical workers for were punished for spreading rumors. One of the admonished, Dr. Li Wenliang, later died from the disease, and remains a symbol free expression and human decency for many in China.
Throughout January the government steadily issued propaganda directives and detained individuals for independently sharing information about the virus. On January 14, national and regional health authorities held a meeting to discuss the growing epidemic, but did not notify the public of its danger for several critical days. On January 20, Xi addressed the nation, informing them that the virus was capable of human-to-human transmission; the WHO had days earlier cited Chinese authorities’ recent claims to the opposite.
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.