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The ruling Communist Party of China issued internal guidelines recently mandating that state-run propaganda outlets avoid any positive reports on the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
The guidelines are dated June 12 and were put out by the Chinese national security commission, the high-level party group headed by President Xi Jinping.
“Forbid any positive reports on the Hong Kong people’s appeals for democracy and freedom,” the guidelines state. “Take full advantage of the government’s right to speak to lead public opinion.”
State media also are directed to report on protests using what are termed the “three conflicts.” Those propaganda themes call for 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.
“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.”
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