Censors delete, manipulate news on Hong Kong: Online content related to the Hong Kong protests that falls outside official government narratives continues to be significantly censored within China, while pro-regime propaganda is heavily promoted. Leaked instructions dated June 16 and published by China Digital Times order websites to “[f]ind and delete video content related to Hong Kong anti-extradition protests,” and to “delete any harmful comments” that reference several songs netizens have embraced as a way to discreetly express support for the protesters. A more recent set of instructions, dated September 5, highlights the dilemma facing Beijing’s content regulators following the official withdrawal of the extradition law amendments.
The directives warn “all websites and new media” to “not re-publish, do not follow up, do not report, and strictly dispose of foreign information posted to social platforms” regarding the withdrawal. The instructions apparently came in response to online comments by Chinese netizens expressing confusion at the concession, which followed weeks of condemnation of the protests by state media. The leaked directive also ordered online media platforms to “[c]lose relevant comment sections, and strictly handle accounts who attack the government in the name of patriotism.”