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 30, 2020.
Regarding the meeting of the Emergency Committee convened in Geneva this evening by the World Health Organization to discuss whether the novel pneumonia epidemic situation constitutes a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern," select Xinhua copy without exception if you need reports. Do not alter headlines, and keep tabs on comments. Do not independently report, comment, or reprint foreign media reports. (January 30, 2020) [Chinese]
These were the latest in a steady stream of directives on the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. Another issued the previous day, and published by CDT in January, ordered the deletion of a Sanlian Life Week article speculating on the possible impact of WHO involvement on the domestic economy. The WHO’s Emergency Committee had withheld PHEIC designation on January 23, but applied it on January 30 in light of the disease’s continued spread and "in the spirit of support and appreciation for China, its people, and the actions China has taken on the frontlines of this outbreak, with transparency, and, it is to be hoped, with success." The WHO’s effusive praise for China’s early handling of the epidemic became highly controversial, and was cited by the Trump administration as a factor in the U.S.’ suspension of funding and later moves to withdraw from the organization.
Russia closed its land border with China to incoming travelers on January 30. Land freight and passenger flights were allowed to continue, but the Russian Foreign Ministry warned the public to avoid non-essential travel to China. Mongolia and North Korea had already taken similar measures in response to the emerging outbreak. In April, China temporarily closed its own side of the border after hundreds of cases were detected among citizens returning to the country via Vladivostok, leaving hundreds of Chinese stranded on the Russian side.
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.