Minitrue Diary, February 7, 2020: Death of Li Wenliang, lantern Festival, Foreign Support, Cultural Education

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 seven directives were released on February 7, 2020.

On the death of Doctor Li Wenliang of Wuhan Central Hospital, only CCTV television reports and news app content may be republished. (February 7, 2020) [Chinese]

For now, do not repost the hot comment article on Li Wenliang published by CCTV this morning. Await instructions. (February 7, 2020) [Chinese]

Reminder: Do not use the concept of “whistleblower” in any reports. (February 7, 2020) [Chinese]

Cancel all publicity stories, without exception, related to special programs for the Lantern Festival, which should be handled in a low-key and cautious manner. (February 7, 2020) [Chinese]

1. Regarding foreign contributions to our fight against the epidemic, please stay in line with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statements and Xinhua news copy. Do not draw contrasts, interpret, hype, or give the erroneous impression that we are reliant on foreign donations to fight the epidemic. (February 7, 2020) [Chinese]

2. The standard name for pneumonia caused by novel coronavirus infections is “novel coronavirus pneumonia,” abbreviated as “NCP.” In English, it is known as “Novel coronavirus pneumonia,” or “NCP” for short. (February 7, 2020) [Chinese]

The Central Cultural Bureau will soon release a “Notice on Focused Development of Vigorous Cultural Education While Winning Victory in the Battle to Control and Contain The Epidemic.” The notice’s primary content has already been publicly reported. Please carry out online dissemination guidance work in accordance with the notice’s requirements, further strengthen dissemination and education of epidemic control knowledge, carry forward the new trend of joint construction of a happy life era, publicize exemplary model cases of epidemic control work, and mobilize the masses’ energetic participation in the fight to control the epidemic. (February 7, 2020) [Chinese]

Please promptly carry out reposting and coverage of reports and reasonable, correct public comments on foreign allies’ support against the virus, and increase online promotion. (February 7, 2020) [Chinese]

These directives were part of a recent stream of orders directed at limiting coverage of various aspects of the novel coronavirus outbreak. In particular, a similar directive on February 3 noted that reporting on foreign assistance to fight the virus should be “cautious and low-key.” The February 7 death of Dr. Li Wenliang, who was widely lauded as a whistleblower before the emergence of the virus was public knowledge, was the subject of several propaganda orders.  Li’s death became a rallying cry for those in China who were frustrated and angry at the government’s response to the virus.

The Lantern Festival marks the end of the two-week Spring Festival period in China. Previous directives had banned celebratory media content about China’s major annual holiday in the midst of the national health crisis.

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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