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 seven directives were released on March 2, 2020.
Further reminder: Coverage of press conferences of all kinds related to epidemic prevention and control must standardize sourcing and report accurately. Do not quote out of context or distort the meaning; do not engage in “clickbait.” Keep tabs on posts and comments. (March 2, 2020) [Chinese]
The central multidepartmental joint investigation team and [authorities from] Beijing and Hubei will today publish their findings on the matter of persons released after completion of their sentences from Wuhan Women’s Prison who then traveled from Wuhan to Beijing while infected with novel coronavirus pneumonia. If reporting on this, do so in accordance with information published by authoritative departments, and do not aggregate, hype, or comment. (March 2, 2020) [Chinese]
In light of the findings in the Beijing notice “On the Case of Huang Mouying Traveling From Wuhan to Beijing,” increase clean-up of attacks on the Party and government and negative comments on the public security organs. (March 2, 2020) [Chinese]
On findings on the incident of a woman traveling from Wuhan to Beijing that involve Beijing, standardize sourcing, do not link to old news, and clean up negative comments. (March 2, 2020) [Chinese]
In general, do not report on supervision by public opinion of epidemic control work in the city of Beijing. (March 2, 2020) [Chinese]
Reporting on border control measures on visitors to China from South Korea and other neighboring countries must proceed in strict accordance with information from authoritative departments such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Report objectively on the current epidemic situation in South Korea and the Korean side’s efforts to combat the epidemic, and avoid criticizing and even disparaging the Korean government and public’s tepid response. Reliably report on border restrictions for visitors to China from South Korea in relevant parts of the country, and do not draw comparisons between each of the two countries’ border control measures toward visitors from the other. Emphasize our local governments’ duty to implement the relevant rules within their jurisdictions, take the proper necessary steps according to the local epidemic situation and prevention and control requirements, and treat Chinese and foreign citizens equally without discrimination. Promptly find and delete misinformation such as “Number of Koreans Coming to China Soars,” “One After Another, Koreans Seek Refuge in China,” and so on. Reporting on the epidemic situation in Japan and other neighboring countries can be carried out with reference to the same requirements. (March 2, 2020) [Chinese]
These directives continue almost daily orders throughout early 2020 restricting coverage of specific issues related to the spread of the coronavirus. In February, Huang Mouying was released from Wuhan Women’s Prison with a novel coronavirus infection. She later traveled to Beijing, prompting a national investigation into the circumstances under which she was able to do so during the implementation of tight travel restrictions, especially from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Several previous directives also limited reporting on border restrictions barring travel into and from China during the coronavirus outbreak.
2020 is the year of the final, decisive assault to eliminate poverty. Promptly block, find, and delete related negative content, take strict precautions against backflow of harmful information from abroad, and strictly manage “low level red,” “high level black,” and comments that deliberately stir up extreme public sentiment. Firmly grasp orientation guidance of hotspots, be strict in checks and audits, prevent any narrative that treats special cases as if they were a general problem, or treat local issues as if they were the overall picture. Prevent disorderly application of “poverty reduction tags” from interfering with the overall attack on poverty. In general, do not conduct public investigative reports on sensitive issues involving poverty or on problems for whose solution conditions are not currently in place. Strengthen content checks and management of posts and comments. (March 2, 2020) [Chinese]
In 2014, Xi Jinping proposed “Precision Poverty Alleviation,” a campaign to end poverty in rural China by 2020 that was later enshrined in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan. This year, the Chinese government declared mission accomplished, while persistent income inequality, the COVID pandemic, and natural disasters helped to undermine those claims.
“High-level black” (gāojíhēi 高级黑) refers to sarcastic overenthusiasm in the expression of public opinion. It is often paired with “low-level red,” (dījíhóng 低级红) which indicates self-defeating displays of nationalism. Read more about the use of these terms from China Media Project.
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.