Chinese Gov't Gives Press Orders On How To Report On Google's China Decision

from the the-ministry-of-truth dept

It’s no secret that the Chinese gov’t issues “directives” on how the press ought to report on certain stories if they want to stay out of trouble, so it’s interesting (found via the NY Times Bits Blog) that the orders that were sent around on how to report on the news of Google leaving China have leaked. The basic order notes that China switched its services to Hong Kong, says that reporters should use text from (state run) Xinhua, and says “don’t play it up,” in reference to the story. The more complete document is as follows:

All chief editors and managers:

Google has officially announced its withdrawal from the China market. This is a high-impact incident. It has triggered netizens’ discussions which are not limited to a commercial level. Therefore please pay strict attention to the following content requirements during this period:

A. News Section

1. Only use Central Government main media (website) content; do not use content from other sources
2. Reposting must not change title
3. News recommendations should refer to Central government main media websites
4. Do not produce relevant topic pages; do not set discussion sessions; do not conduct related investigative reporting;
5. Online programs with experts and scholars on this matter must apply for permission ahead of time. This type of self-initiated program production is strictly forbidden.
6. Carefully manage the commentary posts under news items.

B. Forums, blogs and other interactive media sections:

1. It is not permitted to hold discussions or investigations on the Google topic
2. Interactive sections do not recommend this topic, do not place this topic and related comments at the top
3. All websites please clean up text, images and sound and videos which attack the Party, State, government agencies, Internet policies with the excuse of this event.
4. All websites please clean up text, images and sound and videos which support Google, dedicate flowers to Google, ask Google to stay, cheer for Google and others have a different tune from government policy
5. On topics related to Google, carefully manage the information in exchanges, comments and other interactive sessions
6. Chief managers in different regions please assign specific manpower to monitor Google-related information; if there is information about mass incidents, please report it in a timely manner.

We ask the Monitoring and Control Group to immediately follow up monitoring and control actions along the above directions; once any problems are discovered, please communicate with respected sessions in a timely manner.

Addition guidelines:

– Do not participate in and report Google?s information/press releases
– Do not report about Google exerting pressure on our country via people or events
– Related reports need to put [our story/perspective/information] in the center, do not provide materials for Google to attack relavent policies of our country
– Use talking points about Google withdrawing from China published by relevant departments

Separately, that site points to an amusing transcript of a reporter calling the Chinese gov’t to get official comments on the news of Google leaving China.

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Chinese Gov't Gives Press Orders On How To Report On Google's China Decision”

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Dark Helmet (profile) says:


“Separately, that site points to an amusing transcript of a reporter calling the Chinese gov’t to get official comments on the news of Google leaving China.”

That transcript is an amazing example of what happens when beuracracy simply gets too big. It can work when it’s on a smaller scale, or if it’s specifically managed into small mostly autonomous offices or subsections, but when it’s big? Absolutely paralyzing….

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Sigh....

“My idea of a perfect government is one guy who sits in a small room at a desk, and the only thing he’s allowed to decide is who to nuke. The man is chosen based on some kind of IQ test, and maybe also a physical tournament, like a decathlon. And women are brought to him, maybe … when he desires them.”

– Ron Swanson, Parks & Recreation

Ima Fish (profile) says:

I fail to see the problem. Chinese journalists are able to report the news as long as it’s truthful. The Chinese government does them a favor and determines in advance what is truthful.

So it seems like a win-win to me. Reporters and journalists can now focus on reporting more stories because the burdensome task of determining the truth has already been done for them. China is certainly a glorious paradise.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Hell, at least in China they’re up front about it. Reading that directive memo, I was stunned at the blatant audacity of their control, even though I should have expected that kind of language.

But my brain kept shouting, “Why would they say it like that? Why wouldn’t they just keep the control but be more subtle….like in America?”

Designerfx (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

we’d like people to believe it is, but really it’s just that Americans are on average far less knowledgeable about political issues. I mean we have a whole party dedicated to misinformation. Yes, we have smart people. But we also have a huge amount of blindingly ignorant folks as well. Example: Plenty of people think our healthcare bill takes effect today (and all of it, including the things planned for 2014), which it doesn’t.

Every time I’ve been overseas, I’ve found that everyone is very well versed and understands quite well the political implications of decisions that affect them. They are not in the dark about things such as ACTA, even in China.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I think part of the reason is also because America is an individualistic, and not a collective, society. Citizens in China and other countries act more collectively, they communicate with each other more and visit each other, etc… whereas in America everyone is just in their own little world independent of one another. Our culture makes it more difficult for citizens to organize yet corporations are very organized so they end up having the upper hand.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So, I have to wonder if the economists at IBM (because economists have no souls and go only by data) think helping the Germans was worth it. At the time, they made some money. Recently, it has harmed their reputation (even if only slightly) and has cost them some millions of dollars in legal expenses.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Uh, economics is all about equity (fairness). If an outcome isn’t mutually beneficial for all those involved, it is NOT considered an economically efficient outcome. And the way they can tell what is an equitable solution or not is by data. At least understand what economics IS before you go making blatantly stupid comments. Thanks.

known coward says:

In china

public harmony takes precidence over individual rights time. If the chinese gov’t thinks the “truth” would endanger harmony, Harmony wins every time. The interweb is under control of the goverments, not the other way around. I think china is a clear example of this, and for better or worse (worse mostly) i think this is the way the world, even here, is going to go. Govberments are going to try and control what goes on in cyberspace for “the good of the “children” or the “harmony of the state” you can pick your favorite catchpharse.

In a related note i have to give credit to google for actually pulling out of the censorship deal with china. I never thought the company would cut itself off from 1 billion potential customers. Please pass the salt, i need to eat my hat.

crade (profile) says:

Re: In china

I think any society needs to balance the needs of the individual vs. the needs of the society. Freedom is a misnomer, anywhere there is any law, people are not free (they are restricted by the law). If there is no law, people are not free either (restricted by fear).

It is all a matter of where the line is drawn. Which restrictions are tolerable for the benefit of society (and therefore for your own benefit as well).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: In china

The assumption is that the government is somehow better at deciding what’s in the best interest of citizens and their harmony and that they’re better at deciding what to do with the truth than the general public. and I think that history has shown that government are far worse than normal citizens and the general public and that governments normally don’t even intend to serve the public interest.

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