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 9, 2020.
Concerning Comrade [Vice Premier] Liu He’s January 13-15 trip to the United States to sign Phase One of an economic trade agreement, with no exception: do not organize reports without prior arrangement, do not send push notifications, do not reprint unfavorable foreign reports without authorization. In interactive sections, do not set up special topics, recommendations, or other collections. Promotion without authorization is strictly forbidden. (January 9, 2020) [Chinese]
In January, Liu He traveled to Washington to sign a Phase One trade deal with President Trump. In the run-up to the signing, propaganda officials issued several directives limiting coverage of the event.
The two elections for regional leadership and public representatives in Taiwan will take place on January 11. You are hereby notified of the following relevant arrangements and work requirements:
1. After results are announced, refer to Xinhua News reports. Election results are not to be forecast in advance.
2. Voting and ballot information on the election may be briefly reported, but the quantity of reports must be strictly controlled; do not push pop-ups, do not open special topics or columns, and live reports are not allowed in any form of text, broadcast, television, online video, or mobile broadcast. Live broadcast is also prohibited on work unit or individuals’ social media including Weibo, WeChat public accounts, or other new media platforms. Do not interview relevant candidates, members of campaigns, or other politically sensitive figures on the island;
3. Taiwan-related emergency situations that occurred during, before, or after the elections may be briefly and objectively reported in accordance with Xinhua copy. Do not independently conduct interviews or reporting without authorization. (January 9, 2020) [Chinese]
On January 11, Taiwan held an election, which saw a resounding victory for incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen. In the run-up to the election, Beijing had launched an influence and disinformation campaign promoting her challenger Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu. A previous censorship directive on January 6 also limited coverage of the Taiwan election.
Regarding Comrade Wang Zhimin’s appointment as deputy head of the Central Institute for Party History and Literature Research, there are to be no pop-ups, no placement on dual homepages [site-wide and news], no special topics; do not open topics on interactive sections, do not list as a hot search. Promptly clean up outrageous and absurd commentary, distorted interpretations, and other inappropriate information. (January 9, 2020) [Chinese]
In the midst of long-running pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Wang Zhimin was abruptly replaced as the head of the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong. The liaison office reports directly to the State Council and is Beijing’s primary representative office in the city. Wang was replaced by former Shanxi CCP chief Luo Huining.
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.