(Clearwisdom.net May 24, 2003) The SARS epidemic has had a grim impact on China's politics and economy. From the very beginning, the Propaganda Department of the Chinese Party's Central Committee issued orders to all media outlets in the country, demanding them to strictly guard news about the economic crisis, bank withdrawals, and the worsening situation in unemployment and public security. In addition, orders were handed down that public opinion should be focused on attacking Falun Gong. Different areas are required to produce articles demonizing Falun Gong and also the United States. For those newspapers and periodicals that are likely to stray from the Party line, the Propaganda Department also dispatched officials to stay with them and strictly control "bad news" from being distributed to the public.

Beijing in SARS epidemic

These orders were passed down through special meetings and given an extremely high priority. The main theme from the Propaganda Department was to "strive to secure the economy, attack Falun Gong and defame the United States."

The Propaganda Department of the Chinese Party's Central Committee often issues news requests to establish consensus. Below is an internal document from the Beijing Propaganda Department. According to requirements from the Central Committee's Propaganda Department regarding the control of media, the press in Beijing and other places are still following the content of this document.

(August 1, 2002) The 28th issue of the "Press Bulletin" from the News Section of the Propaganda Department of the Beijing Party's Committee

All municipal press units: According to relevant directives from the Propaganda Department of the Party Central Committee, matters regarding the press needing attention are as follows:

  1. Intensify publicizing positive aspects of the financial industry. Reports regarding China's banks have to be dealt with cautiously. General scripts from the Xinhua News Agency should be used to report reforms in the departments of finance and insurance, changes in personnel and unexpected incidents.
  2. Hong Kong scholar Zhang Wuchang's activities and opinions should not be reported.
  3. Lai Changxing's case cannot be reported on without permission.
  4. Problems associated with the maintenance of the Imperial Palace should not be reported.
  5. Reports regarding halts in the stock market have to be handled cautiously.
  6. Pay attention to the tendency towards American ideology.
  7. Don't attend or report on unapproved media forum activities.
  8. Don't report on the unemployment rate being close to warning mark.
  9. Don't denigrate or discriminate against domestically produced movies in news reports.