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Chinese media steps up campaign

Move comes before Communist Party meetings

BEIJING — Chinese media authorities are stepping up a propaganda campaign and media controls ahead of a series of important Communist Party meetings this year, setting out 20 banned subjects to ensure nothing disturbs a “harmonious” outlook, a Hong Kong newspaper has reported.

The media is tightly controlled by the Communist Party in China and many of the curbs underline existing restrictions on reporting. However, with the National People’s Congress starting next month and a crucial Party Congress due in the Fall, the leadership is keen to keep the media on-message.

The curbs were issued at a meeting on January 12 of the propaganda department of China’s top media authority, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television’s (SARFT), the South China Morning Post reported.

Media are banned from discussing censorship of the media and press freedom. Also not up for discussion are historical events such as the anti-rightist campaign and the Cultural Revolution, as well as the recent anti-corruption campaign and legal and rights protection campaigns.

It also cautioned that discussion of the mistakes made during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) should not be geared towards denying the “historic accomplishment of the party and Mao Zedong”.

Media outlets will be urged to make sure that commemoration of the Nanking Massacre in 1937, when invading Japanese troops killed hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians, must be reported on in a way that will not harm the Sino-Japanese relationship.

There are currently numerous documentaries and films being made in China and Hollywood, about the incident known as the “Rape of Nanking”.

Ties between Beijing and Tokyo are still strained over what China sees as a Japanese lack of remorse for war crimes, but there have been signs of warmer relations in recent months.

Coverage of the 90th anniversary of Russia’s October Revolution should be strictly censored and reporting about the collapse of the former Soviet Union and its East European satellites should be played down, the newspaper reported.

Other no-go areas include judicial corruption, the activities of human rights activists, sexual crimes, the aristocratic lifestyle of high-income groups and reporting on affairs with mistresses.

Also, to cater to the sensibilities of Muslim minorities, the “pig character in general should not be mentioned” this year, according to the guidelines.

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