Minitrue Diary, January 7 2020: Libya, South China Sea, Sacked Officials

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 two directives were released on January 7, 2020.

  1. Recently, the situation in Libya has become further complicated. When reporting on the topic, do not comment on Libya’s internal conflicts, or the legitimacy of the Government of National Accord. Do not highlight the dispatch of Turkish troops at the GNA’s request, maritime disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Turkey enlisting Syrian militants, or other issues.
  2. Do not report or draw from foreign media on Indonesia’s negative comments about sending our fishermen to the southwestern South China Sea. (January 7, 2020) [Chinese]

Turkey sent troops to Libya in support of the U.N.-backed GNA, despite protest from Greece, Israel, and Cyprus. Meanwhile, Indonesia dispatched warships and fishing boats to waters off the northern Natuna islands after a Chinese Coast Guard vessel accompanied a Chinese fishing fleet in the area. President Joko Widodo commented that “there is no negotiation when it comes to our sovereignty.” China has reportedly ramped up its use of maritime militia to murkily assert territorial claims in the region in recent years.

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Three people have been newly sacked, please consult: Zhao Zhengyong, former Vice Chairman of the National People’s Congress Committee of Internal and Judicial Affairs and former Secretary of the Shaanxi Provincial Government; Vice Governor of Shaanxi Province Chen Guoqiang; Former Party Secretary and President of the Yunnan Higher People’s Court Zhao Shijie. (January 7, 2020) [Chinese]

A 600-word statement from Party disciplinary inspectors described Zhao Zhenyong as “two-faced,” “disloyal and disrespectful,” according to South China Morning Post. “He showed no psychological emphasis on the party Central Committee’s decisions and plans,” the statement continued, “and was politically irresponsible and half-hearted at work. He deceived the party many times and resisted party inspection.” Apart from accepting bribes—for which his ally Chen Guoqiang has also faced trial—the charges against Zhao included repeatedly failing to obey orders from Xi Jinping himself for the demolition of villas built illegally in a national nature reserve. In late July, Zhao received a suspended death sentence—effectively, life in prison.

As provincial Higher People’s Court President, Zhao Shijie oversaw and allegedly helped orchestrate the resentencing of Sun Xiaoguo, whose 1998 death sentence for rape, intentional injury, and public disturbance was gradually reduced until his early release in 2010. Nineteen others received criminal sentences over the case, while Sun was re-tried on the original charges and separately tried and sentenced to 25 years “for organizing criminal activity, and for operating gambling houses, disturbing public order, illegal detention, intentional injury, obstructing testimony and offering bribes – all crimes he committed after he was released.”

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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