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 directive was released on February 14, 2020.
Reminders concerning reports on the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic situation:
1. Positive reports must seek truth from facts, tell of ordinary people’s authentic feelings and real lives, be mindful in reporting, and avoid exaggerating or deviating from the real situation.
2. When publishing poems or songs about the fight against the epidemic, ensure to avoid appearing out of sync with the social atmosphere. (February 14, 2020) [Chinese]
As the COVID-19 outbreak continued to spread through China and across the world in February, propaganda authorities issued near daily directives to contain and shape the narrative surrounding the worsening pubic health crisis. CDT translated several censored poems that were posted to WeChat by a Wuhan nurse in mid-February, and another censored poem mourning Dr. Li Wenliang, the frontline doctor who died on February 7 after being punished for sharing “illegal” information about the outbreak.
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.