A new set of rules and instructions from the Chinese government itself suppresses China media outlets from reporting almost anything about Google’s recent pull out from China.

The instructions, nabbed by China Digital Times, outline a series of rather disturbing edicts to media outlets that are covering the Google story. While this is nothing new, the Chinese government’s broad and suppressive mandates are still striking.

In the next section of this article, I am including not only the Chinese Government’s memo, but my analysis of it as well.

China’s Message to Media: A Breakdown

China’s message is indented; my analysis is below each part. I have bolded parts that I believe are important.


“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:”


Analysis: Clearly China is taking this incident seriously. The government understands that Google’s move out of China could make its censorship methods more widely known among the Chinese populous and it could affect its relationships with other companies.

Section A

Here’s section A:


“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.”


Analysis: One of the government’s biggest tactics in controlling the media is controlling the source of news. By limiting news reporting only from a media source controlled by the government, it can control the message.

This same line of thinking also explains why it is discouraging investigative reporting — a key pillar of journalism in the western world. Discussion, forums, and other online and offline mediums for expressing opinions are also being strictly controlled in order to direct the message in the favor of the Chinese government.

Section B

Here’s section B:


“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.”


Analysis: Online media is being strongarmed as well. Don’t expect any forum topics, open-comment blog posts, or other interactive discussions on the China-Google standoff. The key to this section is that websites cannot have any media or stories that “have a different tune from government policy.”

The rows of flowers that Chinese citizens put in front of the Google logo sends the wrong message to its citizens, and China’s relying on the media to clean it up and tow the line.


“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.

Additional 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”


Analysis: Overall, these guidelines are no surprise; this is just how the Chinese government works. It’s a different culture, a different government, and a different set of rules. Google’s clearly placed pressure on China, but it probably won’t be enough to break the censorship chains that bind China’s Internet down.

Reviews: Google, news

Tags: china, Google, media