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 six directives were released on January 22, 2020.
Newly-added sensitive persons:
* Li Qian, former Hebei Party leadership group member and Hebei Deputy Governor
* Zhang Jian, former Party secretary and president of Anhui People’s Court
* Hu Huaibang, former Party secretary and chairman of China Development Bank. (January 22, 2020) [Chinese]
All three of these men were later disciplined for corruption. In February, Li Qian was arrested on suspicion of taking bribes. In March, Zhang Jian was indicted on corruption charges. On January 10, Hu Huaibang was expelled from the Communist Party for “serious violations of discipline.” He was later indicted and in late July, pleaded guilty to illegally receiving US$12 million.
All departments, strictly examine and review programs scheduled for re-broadcast and accurately label them as re-broadcasts. In press releases dealing with the performing arts industries, avoid terms “film king,” “film queen,” “superstar,” “emperor,” and the like. (January 22, 2020) [Chinese]
CDT editors could not find a specific event that precipitated this directive. “Film king” and “film queen” are terms commonly used for winners of best actor or actress awards in international film festivals.
According to relevant work arrangements, from February 8 to March 31 please fix on homepages, promote public service announcements, and circulate posters of the new press cards. Simultaneously promote on social media platforms. Posters and advertisements of the new version of journalist press cards can be downloaded from the “China Journalist Net” (http://press.nppa.gov.cn [the website of the State Administration on Press and Publication]). The page is specifically titled “Introduction Video to New Edition of Press Cards,” “Public Announcement on New Press Cards.” (January 22, 2020) [Chinese]
In August 2019, the Central Propaganda Department announced new rules requiring journalists to pass a test on Party ideology before they could be granted a new press card, which is required for all working members of the media. The first tests were given to a pilot group of 10,000 journalists but they were expected to be implemented nationally at a later date. That December, the government announced new press cards, which were upgraded with anti-counterfeiting technology and released to great fanfare by the official media.
During Spring Festival all message and comments sections on interactive platforms (including third-party platforms) must be closed. If they cannot be closed they must be managed by a specialist who reports to the editor-in-chief on duty. (January 22, 2020) [Chinese]
Aside from special approvals, no reporters may be sent to Wuhan in the coming days. Reports related to he Wuhan epidemic will be covered mainly by local reporters’ stations following standard arranged protocols; all reports about the epidemic must strictly observe dissemination discipline and proceed in an orderly fashion. (January 22, 2020) [Chinese]
When reprinting news reports related to the epidemic, please use “pneumonia related to the novel coronavirus infection,” and “novel coronavirus pneumonia” as standard formulations. (January 22, 2020) [Chinese]
Lunar New Year fell on January 25, 2020, during the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan. Most public activities were canceled as Wuhan and other nearby cities were put under a strict lockdown on January 23, making the customary holiday travel and celebrations impossible. Despite the government restriction on reporters being sent to Wuhan, some domestic and foreign journalists did stay in the city after the lockdown was announced, including several from Caixin, citizen journalist Chen Qiushi who has been detained since February, and New York Times reporter Chris Buckley. Since the virus first emerged in Wuhan in late December, the government issued a number of propaganda directives limiting and steering coverage of its spread.
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.