The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online.
Notice from the Cyberspace Administration of China: U.S. President Donald Trump has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Intensive promotion of pop-ups on websites and new media does not conform to related propaganda requirements. The requirements are reiterated here:
Concerning U.S. President Trump saying on social media that he and his spouse tested positive for the novel coronavirus, websites and new media may only write brief reports based on the facts, no comments, no hype, and no rejoicing in the misfortune of others. Do not relate this to the U.S. election. Without unified arrangements do not push pop-up notifications, do not allow onto hot searches or lists. (October 6, 2020) [Chinese]
U.S. President Donald Trump was last week diagnosed positive for coronavirus after consistently downplaying concerns related to the disease. Trump has for months been highlighting inaction and opacity in China during the initial outbreak in late 2019 and early 2020 as he makes China policy a staple of his reelection campaign; analysts have forecast a further increase in China-bashing from Trump following his diagnosis. NPR notes some schadenfreude expressed by Chinese web users—a trend that has also been noted elsewhere.
On October 5, Donald Trump returned to the White House after being discharged from Walter Read National Military Medical Center, and urged Americans not to fear the virus while unmasked. Inconsistent and conflicting reports of the state of the president’s health have followed his discharge. On Wednesday, Trump was reported to be touting an unapproved experimental antibody cocktail he was given as a “cure” that he would ensure all Americans access to as soon as possible, a claim which medical professionals haven’t confirmed. Also on Wednesday:
I watched this clip so you don’t have to. @dtiffroberts is not joking with the direct quote below. This is as direct an example of Trump perceiving blame coming his way and shoving it over to “China” as I can recall. The intentionality is just beyond debate. https://t.co/6mhvttfAUC
— Graham Webster (@gwbstr) October 7, 2020
A series of Chinese censorship directives related to COVID-19 followed the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan in early 2020.
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.