The Chinese Propaganda Machine Tried To Stop Negative Coverage Of This Weekend's Deadly Beijing Floods

Widespread flooding in Beijing over the weekend is said to have killed at least 37. Unsurprisingly, after the floods the Chinese government wanted to keep negative messages under wraps.

Here’s an (alleged) censorship instruction from the weekend, published by China Digital Times:

Beijing Municipal Committee Department of Propaganda: For public opinion guidance (舆论引导) concerning yesterday’s rainstorms, all media outlets, including central news organisations, must emphasise the power of human compassion over the elements. All Youth League committees and branches must coordinate positive reports and information on the storm in their commentaries, forum posts, and reprints of articles. Public Weibo accounts, accounts of individual Youth League members and newly registered accounts must all complete report forms.


Beijing Municipal News Office: Do not report on the collapse of the subway. (The floods caused the Jintai Road construction site on Line 6 to cave in [zh].)


Beijing Municipal Office of Internet Propaganda Management: Remove Li Chengpeng’s essay “Totem”.


The censorship didn’t seem to work out completely, however, and posts criticising Beijing’s infrastructure soon went viral on Weibo, with many comments overtly attacking the Chinese government.

Even state media outlets like Xinhua and the Global Times were soon criticising Beijing’s underdeveloped sewage system.

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