The Sydney Morning Herald has posted an article that purports to list 21 rules for covering the Olympics. Presumably these are written for Chinese journalists, but the article doesn’t actually explain the document, it just publishes it… The items (listed below) provide an insight into the international/domestic stories the Propaganda unit have anticipated in the lead-up to the Olympics.
I’ve added links to google searches for key terms, so you can familliarise yourself with the key themes of Chinese propaganda unit’s preoccupations:
1. The telecast of sports events will be live [but] in case of emergencies, no print is allowed to report on it.
2. From August 1, most of the previously accessible (sic) overseas websites will be unblocked. No coverage is allowed on this development. There’s also no need to use stories published overseas on this matter and [website] operators should not provide any superlinks on their pages.
3. Be careful with religious and ethnic subjects.
4. Don’t make fuss about foreign leaders at the opening ceremony, especially in relation to seat arrangements or their private lives.
5. We have to put special emphasis on ethnic equality. Any perceived racist terms as “black athlete” or “white athlete” is not allowed. During the official telecast, we can refer to Taiwan as “Chinese Taipei”. In ordinary times, refer to Taiwanese athletes as “those from the precious island Taiwan…..” In case of any pro Taiwan-independence related incident inside the venue, you shall follow restrictions listed in item 1.
6. For those ethnic Chinese coaches and athletes who come back to Beijing to compete on behalf of other countries, don’t play up their “patriotism” since that could backfire with their adopted countries.
7. As for the Pro-Tibetan independence and East Turkistan movements, no coverage is allowed. There’s also no need to make fuss about our anti-terrorism efforts.
8. All food saftey issues, such as cancer-causing mineral water, is off-limits.
9. In regard to the three protest parks, no interviews and coverage is allowed.
10. No fuss about the rehearsals on August 2,5. No negative comments about the opening ceremony.
11.No mention of the Lai Changxing case.
12.No mention of those who illegally enter China.
13.On international matters, follow the official line. For instance, follow the official propaganda line on the North Korean nuclear issue; be objective when it comes to the Middle East issue and play it down as much as possible; no fuss about the Darfur question; No fuss about UN reform; be careful with Cuba. If any emergency occurs, please report to the foreign ministry.
14. If anything related to territorial dispute happens, make no fuss about it. Play down the Myanmar issue; play down the Takeshima island dispute.
15. Regarding diplomatic ties between China and certain nations, don’t do interviews on your own and don’t use online stories. Instead, adopt Xinhua stories only. Particularly on the Doha round negotiation, US elections, China-Iran co-operation, China-Aussie co-operation, China-Zimbabwe co-operation, China-Paraguay co-operation.
16.Be very careful with TV ratings, only use domestic body’s figures. Play it down when rating goes down.
17. In case of an emergency involving foreign tourists, please follow the official line. If there’s no official line, stay away from it.
18. Re possible subway accidents in the capital, please follow the official line.
19.Be positive on security measures.
20. Be very careful with stock market coverage during the Games.
21.Properly handle coverage of the Chinese sports delegation:
A.don’t criticise the selection process
B.don’t overhype gold medals; don’t issue predictions on gold medal numbers; don’t make fuss about cash rewards for athletes.
C.don’t make a fuss about isolated misconducts by athletes.
D.enforce the publicity of our anti-doping measures.
E. put emphasis on government efforts to secure the retirement life of atheletes.
F. keep a cool head on the Chinese performance. Be prepared for possible fluctations in the medal race.
G. refrain from publishing opinion pieces at odds with the official propangada line of the Chinese delegation.
Will be interesting to see how many of the above issues are covered by foreign media while China is on the world stage for 17 days. It’s hard for me to gauge what’s being covered back in Australia from here, but I’m wondering if sports results are drowning out any political coverage; I suspect is the hope of the people who prepared the above list.
Thanks to Laura F-P for posting the article on this blog’s wall!