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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:40am

    Sigh....

    "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....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:46am

      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

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Ima Fish (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:52am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:57am

      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?"

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        crade (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:59am

        Re: Re:

        I was impressed by this as well.
        Is a country that is openly undemocratic worse that one that is secretly so?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Designerfx (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:25am

          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.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            senshikaze (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            it is a side effect of the large amount of land our nation has/had. We have always held the loner on the western trail above the people in a settled community. It causes people to think that politics is "someone else's problem."
            of course that just makes the problem even worse.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              icon
              crade (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              At least your government is doing *something*. I swear here in Canada, the only thing our government has done since elected is wave at the olympics.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              •  
                icon
                Chargone (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:27pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                ... given the tendancy of bored governments to find new ways to screw over the population, i'd personally call that a Good thing...

                 

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:38am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            The Mighty Buzzard, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I mean we have two whole parties dedicated to misinformation.

            There, fixed that for you.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:29am

        Re: Re:

        That memo was supposed to be kept from the public, it wasn't supposed to leak. No doubt they would have used different language had they known it would leak.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:58am

    I think it's disgusting that Microsoft and Yahoo are still in China. I think any company that directly enables governments to suppress basic human rights need to be held accountable.

    I hate to invoke Godwin's law, but would Microsoft not have any problem doing business in 1930's Germany?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymouse, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:03am

      Re:

      I hate to invoke Godwin's law, but would Microsoft not have any problem doing business in 1930's Germany?


      Why not... IBM did.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re:

        "Why not... IBM did."

        Damn, beat me to it. In fact, several things I've read indicate that the Nazi's use of IBM's punch cards to handle the logistics of transporting captured Jews/Gypsies/etc. is what gave them the boost that led to their hayday...

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:30am

          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.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 2:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: 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.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    jfgilbert (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    That's the way the interwebs should be run

    China is showing us the way. Thank God, ACTA is coming and we will get our house in order too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Mr. Oizo, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:25am

      Re: That\'s the way the interwebs should be run

      In China: dear citizin, you are not allowed to think
      In the rest of the world: dear citizin, you should pay us to think

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:28am

        Re: Re: That\\\'s the way the interwebs should be run

        "In the rest of the world: dear citizin, you should pay us to think, but don't actually try it"

        TFTFY

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    known coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:47am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      crade (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:33am

      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).

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 4:37pm

      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.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    bob, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:59am

    This Has Been Tried Before

    The current presidential administration tried this with a TV news network, I don't think it went over very well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Forrest Gump, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Firsthand experience in China

    Well, in the land of China, people hardly got nothing at all.
    And in China they never go to church.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Matt R, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    I

    I love America...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 2:10pm

    whats sad about Xinhua is that it actually a good news service that reports *most* news (read; non China related) in a very evenhanded and neutral manner while still being informative. To bad they're under the thumb of a bunch of old, scared men

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    JACK, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 6:24pm

    this

    These comments are unpatriotic and will be removed at behest of the U.S. Government. You are now all blacklisted and should report to the nearest concentration camp.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This