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 have recently been translated by CDT. The following 11 directives were released on March 10, 2020. This is the final post in this series.
Please strengthen the disposal of harmful information related to “Tibet independence.” Take strict precautions against stirring public opinion. In case of outstanding circumstances, please report to the monitoring editor on duty. (March 10, 2020) [Chinese]
March 10 marks “Tibet Uprising Day,” which commemorates a 1959 protest in Lhasa by tens of thousands of Tibetans demanding an end to Chinese occupation of their homeland. A subsequent crackdown by Chinese soldiers killed thousands of Tibetans and led to the escape of the Dalai Lama into exile in India, where he has lived ever since. The day is marked each year by pro-Tibetan groups around the world.
Concerning the assemblies of merchants in many locales requesting that rent be lowered or waived, without exception do not report, do not comment, and do not reprint. (March 10, 2020) [Chinese]
In March, small private business owners in various locations in China protested for rent relief in the wake of the COVID crisis. February is generally the biggest shopping month in China during the Lunar New Year holiday, and many businesses lost critical income during the health crisis. Local government programs to offer economic assistance to businesses included rent abatement, but only for state-owned commercial properties.
Concerning the “whistle provider” and this type of reporting, do not place on home pages and remove if there.
The Great Whistle provider! Should be received by top leaders.
The first to discover the virus, only she is the whistle provider!
People Magazine reported today on whistle provider Ai Fen, director of the ER at Wuhan Central Hospital. The introduction has been cut.
The Whistleblower: If these doctors could get prompt alerts, maybe this wouldn’t have happened
http://www.yyrw.org.cn/e/action/ShowInfo.php?classid=5&id=2256&from=timeline&isappinstalled=0″ (March 10, 2020) [Chinese]
The week of March 11, Dr. Ai Fen, the director of the emergency department at Wuhan Central Hospital, was interviewed by Chinese magazine People (Renwu 人物), in which she recounted being reprimanded by hospital authorities for sharing a diagnostic report on WeChat showing a patient with SARS-like pneumonia in late December. Previously, Ai had denied being a “whistleblower” and instead called herself a “whistle provider.” Ai was one of several medical personnel, including Dr. Li Wenliang, who were admonished for sharing information about the new virus before it had been officially acknowledged. The People interview was quickly censored, but netizens found creative ways to share it.
Regarding the Chinese government’s chartering of commercial flights to repatriate Chinese citizens from countries with severe epidemic outbreaks, such as Iran, there will be no reports unless by unified arrangement. (March 10, 2020) [Chinese]
As Iran faced a surge in COVID cases in early March, China chartered flights to repatriate Chinese citizens, a subject of previous directives. On March 6, one such directive stated, “If reporting on confirmed cases among Chinese citizens repatriated from Iran, take information published by authoritative departments as standard. Do not stress patients’ ethnic minority status, do not comment, do not hype, do not exaggerate, and avoid triggering social panic.” Another on March 3 warned recipients, “Do not conduct interviews with repatriated people or their friends and relatives in the absence of unified arrangements.”
The March 11 Changjiang News broadcast and short summary “Central Leading Group: Fighting Side-by-Side With the Hubei and Wuhan People, Resolutely Winning the Defensive War in Hubei and Wuhan” shall not go online. (March 10, 2020) [Chinese]
Clean up harmful information related to epidemic prevention and control in response to the notifications from the Beijing Center for Disease Control of the confirmed cases of a certain Guo in Zhengzhou and of a certain Li, who imported the virus from Britain. (March 10, 2020) [Chinese]
Guo was sentenced to 18 months in prison for disobeying rules about social distancing and quarantining while infected with COVID after traveling abroad. A certain Ms. Li was mentioned in a report of people who brought the virus back to China after traveling abroad.
The Ministry of Education will soon publish “Guiding Opinions for Actively Responding to the Novel Coronavirus Epidemic While Succeeding in the 2020 Art Major Enrollment Exam.” Use authoritative information if and when reporting, do not question the new examination method, handle comments from training agencies with care, and request opinion from the education department if unsure, in order to prevent false and extreme reports from misleading the public. (March 10, 2020) [Chinese]
If a department is in need of video content or collection please contact the content planning service center with your order. (March 10, 2020) [Chinese]
1. Reports concerning medical personnel should be simple, unadorned, and pay more attention to the performance of the post-90s, post-00s, and other groups.
2. Do not touch on negative reports from medical personnel. (March 10, 2020) [Chinese]
1. When reporting on cases entering other cities and provinces by way of Beijing, the phrases “via Beijing” and “transferred in Beijing” should not appear in the headline or lede. Do not use the wording “in defense of the capital” or “in defense of Beijing.” Reports must be based on authoritative information and should accurately and completely reflect the prevention and control measures of Beijing customs.
2. Standardize wording in reports related to overseas prevention and control. Use the phrase “imported from abroad” instead of “reflux” or “backflow.” (March 10, 2020) [Chinese]
Do not report on interim developments in areas such as pharmaceutical efficacy, vaccine progress, virus origins, transmission channels, reagent monitoring etc. that have not yet been confirmed by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Health Commission or other authoritative departments. Handle information on research findings independently provided by universities, research units, firms, and related experts with caution, especially those with content in fields such as vaccines’ clinical trials and expected application timeframes, monitoring reagents’ examination timeframes, viral transmission channels and mechanisms, the virus’ source and intermediate hosts, autopsies of victims etc. In case of uncertainty, promptly contact the press offices of relevant departments such as the Ministry of Science and Technology and Health Commission to check. Handle reports on mutations of the novel coronavirus and human harm in a safe manner to avoid social panic. (March 10, 2020) [Chinese]
These directives follow a stream of almost daily instructions on how to report various aspects of the COVID pandemic. Reports on the spread of the virus to other countries, as well as spread through domestic travel in China, were especially sensitive. Reports on developments in medical treatments, vaccines, transmission, and other scientific factors were also carefully monitored and controlled. Previous directives similarly set rules about how to standardize the language around the outbreak. The final directive here was almost identical to one issued on March 8.
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.