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 25, 2020.
Regarding online propagation on the novel coronavirus epidemic, ensure the following:
- Further standardize report language, release epidemic data that strictly accords with authoritative statements from the National Health Commission, and do not add the word “nationwide” before the phrase “31 provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities, and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.”
- Concerning Shenzhen’s daily donation of 100,000 masks to Hong Kong, do not report, do not reprint, and do not comment. (February 25, 2020) [Chinese]
This came as the latest in near daily official propaganda directives concerning the coronavirus since the beginning of 2020. English language reports from the day include coverage of how regional coronavirus lockdowns are tormenting China’s many migrant workers; focus on how the COVID-19 response had brought further repression to Uyghurs in Xinjiang—where a crackdown many see as a genocide has been underway for years; on the severe cost the outbreak is having on China’s health workers; and on the economic impact of the epidemic.
In early March, the South China Morning Post reported on a pro-establishment Hong Kong group handing out masks that had been donated by the Shenzhen government. The group had reportedly begun distributing a total of one million masks amid a critical shortage in the region, but required personal data in exchange for the PPE. In February, HSBC reported plans to cut 35,000 jobs as the city’s economy and social fabric were both reeling from months of pro-democracy protests and heavy-handed police crackdowns.
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.