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 29, 2020.
Regarding the situation of aid donation from International Red Cross and Belarus, temporarily refrain from reporting. (January 29, 2020) [Chinese]
By the end of January, China was struggling to contain the coronavirus outbreak that first emerged in Wuhan the month prior. The World Health Organization had a week prior refrained from calling the outbreak a “global health emergency,” a move that they would make on January 30 as global confirmed cases rose to 10,000—the vast majority of cases inside China.
China’s celebrities quickly rushed to throw monetary support into the fight, some reportedly donating massive sums. Several of those reported to have donated had recently been the subject of controversy and related censorship directives, including actress Fan Bingbing and celebrity couple Huang Xiaoming and Angelbaby. Another potential reason for this directive may have been the donation of PPE supplies to contacts in Wuhan by Taiwanese celebrities.
In early February, The Diplomat rounded up a list of nations, companies, and nonprofits that sent international aid to China in the early weeks of the outbreak. Reports from around that time also note three Red Cross officials in Hubei being punished for “failing to perform their duties when receiving and allocating” aid. A February 1 report from state English-language broadcaster CGTN reported on solidarity with China shown from international leaders. By March, as China managed to gain control of the outbreak as the world struggled with the ongoing pandemic, Beijing received international criticism for its “mask diplomacy,” accused of misrepresenting the in- and outgoing flow of supplies to bolster state propaganda.
All departments, due to the extension of the holiday period for Spring Festival, continue to keep comment sections closed until 24:00 on February 2. Please take note. (January 29, 2020) [Chinese]
Due to mounting concerns over the emerging novel coronavirus epidemic, the government locked down the city of Wuhan on January 23, quarantining the city of 11 million the day before the Lunar New Year holiday transit period began. Contagion concerns amid the world’s largest annual human migration prompted Beijing to announce an extension of the holiday period, which was originally due to end on January 30.
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.