Minitrue Diary, February 17, 2020: NPC Standing Committee, Media Missteps, Coronavirus Treatments, Price Hikes

CDT has recently acquired and verified a collection of directives issued by central Party authorities to 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 five directives were released on February 17, 2020.

All departments take note and extend this warning: Two Days, Four Media Outlets, Three Grave Errors, All Low-level. All publishing departments must study and circulate. Find lessons in the mistakes of others and strengthen your diligence to avoid error. (February 17, 2020) [Chinese]

Regarding reports on the 47th meeting of the 13th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, strictly regulate draft sources, use Xinhua News Agency sources, and properly manage posted comments. (February 17, 2020) [Chinese]

Novel epidemic situation reporting reminders:

  1. Promptly make known Guangdong’s "Pneumonia No. 1" and other regionally characteristic treatment methods and their actual effects, make clear that this is a clinical drug rather than a preventative medicine to avoid misleading.
  2. Concerning questions or controversy about the current lack of conclusions in prevention, treatment, and scientific research, as a matter of principle, do not report. If it is necessary to report, explain the point of controversy or doubt. Research that has not been officially published should not be cited or reported.
  3. Strengthen the review and control of content and strictly implement a review system to verify sources, ensure that content is true and reasonable, and prevent the spread of false information (for example if some media mislabeled a neighborhood in Shouguang, Shandong with the name of a neighborhood in Wuhan or in Dalian, or some media reports claim that a 20-day-old asked her mother’s whereabouts, or some media published false unverified information about an academic who was under shuanggui). Learn from these. (February 17, 2020) [Chinese]

Find and delete "Two Departments: Strictly, Severely, and Quickly Crackdown on Price Increasing Activities." (February 17, 2020) [Chinese]

If a department is in need of video content or collection please contact the content planning service center with your order. (February 17, 2020) [Chinese]

These directives mostly continue a steady stream of instructions for coverage of the COVID-19 epidemic as it gripped China in the first quarter of 2020. Recurring themes seen here include the search for effective treatment, the spread of associated rumors, and the epidemic’s impact on already elevated living costs. The mention of a newborn baby asking for its mother is an apparent reference to a story from a Xi’an newspaper in which the mother was a nurse who was absent because she was fighting the epidemic. The paper later withdrew the story, citing an editing mistake.

真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.

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