Propaganda Instructions on Wenzhou Train Crash
The website Ministry of Truth (banned in China) regularly publishes the censorship directives issued to China’s state-run media by the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department — which makes it an incredibly revealing guide to what’s actually going on in China, what topics or information authorities feel are “too sensitive” for people to know about.
The instructions concerning Saturday’s deadly high-speed rail collision near Wenzhou speak for themselves:
Central Propaganda Department: In regard to the Wenzhou high-speed train crash, all media outlets are to promptly report information released from the Ministry of Railways. No journalists should conduct independent interviews. All subsidiaries including newspaper, magazines and websites are to be well controlled. Do not link reports with articles regarding the development of high-speed trains. Do not conduct reflective reports.
Additional directives for all central media: The latest directives on reporting the Wenzhou high-speed train crash: 1. Release death toll only according to figures from authorities. 2. Do not report on a frequent basis. 3. More touching stories are to reported instead, i.e. blood donation, free taxi services, etc. 4. Do not investigate the causes of the accident; use information released from authorities as standard. 5. Do not reflect or comment.
Reminder on reporting matters: All reports regarding the Wenzhou high-speed train accident are to be titled “7.23 Yong-Wen line major transportation accident.” Reporting of the accident is to use “ ‘in the face of great tragedy, there’s great love’” as the major theme. Do not question. Do not elaborate. Do not associate. No re-posting on micro-blogs will be allowed! Related service information may be provided during news reporting. Music is to be carefully selected!
It is worth noting that these instructions have been widely ignored by Chinese journalists responding to widespread public anger and frustration over the accident.