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 3, 2020.
From now on, all public reports (not containing internal materials) that involve the speech of responsible high-level comrades must have been reviewed by the person in question, and approved by a higher-ranking comrade. (January 3, 2020) [Chinese]
1. Regarding the murder of a doctor at the Civil Aviation Hospital, do not again hype this topic. Guard against using this story to attack China’s medical system.
Last December 24, a 51-year-old emergency room doctor at the Beijing Civil Aviation Hospital was brutally stabbed to death by the disgruntled son of an elderly patient, and the story was widely discussed on the Chinese internet over the following week. Assaults on medical professionals in China have become common in China in recent years. This directive came amid emerging sensitivity around China’s medical system—the day after the first known censorship instruction related to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan was issued.
Towards the end of 2019 and early 2020, English-language media reports warned of substantial risks in China’s financial sector related to industry-specific concerns and to fallout from the ongoing trade war with the U.S.
Please take note and block the following illegal videos: the Tibet-related documentary “A Fugitive for 60 Years: the Dalai Lama’s Old Age,” the Xinjiang documentary “Static and Noise, ” and the Hong Kong documentary “City of Tears.” (January 3, 2020) [Chinese]
CDT editors were unable to find any information in English or Chinese about a recent Dalai Lama documentary as described in this directive. The films “Static and Noise” and “The City of Tears,” about the political and human rights situations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, respectively, both launched funding drives on American crowdfunding platforms last year. While “Static and Noise” is still open to funding after attracting only $12,000 of a $50,000 goal to fund international distribution, “City of Tears” more than tripled its goal, and enjoyed wide international viewership and publicity.
Regarding the “Phase One Agreement” on China-U.S. trade, without exception: do not independently organize reporting, do not send push notifications without previous authorization, do not republish unfavorable foreign reports. Interactive social platforms must not open special topics without permission, do not aggregate or recommend [relevant content], and strictly manage influential online accounts. Consult the above requests, it is strictly forbidden to independently comment and hype [the story] without [prior] authorization. (January 3, 2020) [Chinese]
On December 31, 2019, President Trump announced that a “Phase One” trade deal with China had been agreed upon, and would be signed on January 15. Reports from U.S. media warned against premature optimism about the trade war, noting that tensions with Beijing remained high and multifaceted. By January 3, the date of the directive, Beijing had still not made an official announcement about the deal. The previous day’s directives had also prohibited the “unauthorized hyping” of the deal.
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.