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 February 13, 2020.
Reports involving leadership changes in provincial Party committees (including municipalities directly under the Central Government) should without exception take the text of authorized releases from Xinhua as standard. It is forbidden to release information without authorization until these are published, or to hype related topics. (February 13, 2020) [Chinese]
On February 13, it was reported that Beijing had purged officials in Hubei Province—the site of the initial coronavirus outbreak in late December—including the Party secretaries of both the province and Wuhan city as well as local health officials. The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan and the region led to public anger at local officials’ handling of the crisis, including their slow response to early cases and stifling of information. From a South China Morning Post article by William Zheng:
China’s official Xinhua news agency reported that Hubei party secretary Jiang Chaoliang had been replaced by Shanghai mayor Ying Yong, 61, a close ally of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Communist Party leader of the city of Wuhan, Ma Guoqiang, 56, also lost his job, Xinhua said. He will be replaced by Wang Zhonglin, 57, the party secretary of the city of Jinan, in the eastern province of Shandong.
Another Beijing heavyweight, Chen Yixin, was flown into Hubei last week. He is chief of the party’s top law enforcement body – the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission – and is now in charge of handling the outbreak. The virus is believed to have originated from a live animal and seafood market in Wuhan, Hubei’s capital city. [Source]
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.