The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have prohibited state-run propaganda outlets from publishing “any positive reports on the Hong Kong people’s appeals for democracy and freedom,” a report said.
The CCP has also directed that the state-run media outlets, which have global reach, promote in print, photographic and televised reports the propaganda line that the Hong Kong activists are backed by the CIA, according to an Aug. 21 Washington Times report. In that connection, the outlets have been instructed to highlight Western flags used by pro-democracy protesters.
“At the same time, as much as possible try not to leak any slogans on democracy and freedom in the footage and photos used in our reports,” the guidelines say.
The guidelines also call for state-run media to play up the growing support for the pro-democracy protesters among foreign politicians: “This is exactly what we want, and we should emphasize these reports, which fully illustrate how the hostile forces from the West are trying to disrupt the situation and create chaos.”
The guidelines, dated June 12, were issued by the Chinese national security commission, which is headed by supreme leader Xi Jinping, the report by Bill Gertz said.
The guidelines were first reported by Guo Media, the online U.S. outlet led by dissident Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui.
The guidelines, which call for labeling the protesters as “terrorists,” instruct the propaganda outlets to “Take full advantage of the government’s right to speak to lead public opinion.”
The CCP has directed state-run media to report on the Hong Kong protests using what are termed the “three conflicts,” — making the protests a battle between “patriotism” and Hong Kong independence, a contrast between “peace and violence,” and a conflict between the Chinese “legal system” and those fomenting riots, Gertz’s report said.
“Moderately report on some of the people’s appeals, but only touch on the issue lightly without any highlights,” the guidelines state. “It is permissible to turn the political incident into an economic incident to a certain degree. However, ultimately, it will be defined as a criminal incident.”
The guidelines also appear to take a page out of the U.S. corporate media’s playbook, directing the propaganda outlets to minimize the total number of protesters who turn out and downplay the wide popular support in Hong Kong for the protests. U.S. mainstream media outlets for years have intentionally underestimated the huge crowds President Donald Trump attracts at his rallies.
The CCP, according to Gertz’s report, also wants to classify various social groups in distinct categories: those not protesting as a “silent majority” and the protesters as “young, ignorant and manipulated.”
“They are tools used by enemy Western forces,” the guidelines say.
The CCP also called on Chinese media to block all reports that would show “people voicing their support of the protesters or saying they understand the protesters.”
Excessive force used against the protesters by police “must be blocked and deleted,” the guidelines state. “It is absolutely forbidden to circulate such within WeChat, Weibo, or any type of social media.”
The propaganda outlets also are called on to use foreign supporters and fellow travelers.
“Fully utilize the economic attractions of the mainland market to persuade the patriotic businessmen in the mainland and the patriotic entertainment celebrities to stand up and speak out their support for the government and police,” the directive says. “Firmly control the supervision on traditional media and banning on social media, in order to strongly direct public opinion.”
Twitter announced it had uncovered 936 Chinese accounts that were part of “a significant state-backed information operation focused on the situation in Hong Kong” aimed at undermining the protests. The accounts were suspended.