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 three directives were released on January 6, 2020.
Regarding voting and results in the Taiwan election, do not open up special topics or columns, do not allow any form of text, online video, or mobile live broadcast reports, and do not conduct live broadcasts through work unit or individual Weibo accounts, WeChat public accounts or Moments, or any other social networking platform. (January 6, 2020) [Chinese]
This directive was issued in advance of Taiwan’s January 11 presidential election, which saw a decisive win for incumbent Tsai Ing-wen. In the run-up to the election, Beijing ran an aggressive influence and disinformation campaign in an effort to discredit Tsai in favor of her opponent, Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu.
As an additional reminder: Regarding the signing of the “Phase One Agreement” on China-U.S. trade, with no exceptions: do not independently organize reporting, do not allow push notifications without direction, do not republish unfavorable foreign reports. Social media platforms such as Weibo, WeChat, and other forums are not allowed to launch [relevant] special topics or recommendations, etc., without authorization. Strictly manage influential online accounts. Consult the above requests, do not hype [this topic]. (January 6, 2020) [Chinese]
This directive echoed one issued on January 2, in advance of the January 15 signing of the Phase One trade deal between the U.S. and China.
As an additional reminder: Regarding the pneumonia of unknown origin that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei, use information released by authoritative departments as the standard, do not write baseless conjecture. If in doubt, direct questions to the National Health Commission to prevent fake news reports from triggering mass panic. (January 6, 2020) [Chinese]
This directive was identical to another issued on January 2, restricting reporting on the emerging novel coronavirus, which had not yet been publicly identified as a major public health threat by Chinese authorities.
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.