January 4, 2018
As widespread protests in Iran have now reached a full week, a new censorship directive from the Chinese government has ordered newsrooms across the nation to cease reporting on Iran demonstrations.
The leaked directive, which has been translated and published by the China Digital Times, notifies journalists to “not report any more on the demonstrations in Iran” and that “follow-up reports require further notice from superiors.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Image via AP
The China Digital Times reports the government instructions as follows:
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.
Do not report any more on the demonstrations in Iran. Follow-up reports require further notice from superiors. Relevant information that has already been transmitted and is from an authoritative source and is compliant should no longer be hyped but do not delete it. [Chinese]
News of the Iran protests have been trending on Chinese social media and have received intensive coverage in state and independent media. New York Times Hong Kong correspondent Austin Ramzy observed, “Chinese activist Twittersphere has been very focused on the Iran protests, cheering the expanding demonstrations, with the hope that something like this could happen at home.”
However, authorities in Beijing have as their chief driving concern that Iran maintain stability as China has already positioned itself to be the chief international investor in Iranian infrastructural projects, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. When asked about the Iran protests at a regularly scheduled press conference on Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang simply gave a one-sentence answer…