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Propaganda bureau: Don't listen to the government

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Wu Hao, vice director of Yunnan's provincial propaganda bureau, told reporters in Kunming last week that media coverage of events should not pander to the language used by local governments or police, essentially telling journalists not to put too much faith in local officials' descriptions of social disturbances.

A Southern Metropolis Daily report said that inflammatory wording often used in government and police reports about social unrest came across as an official pronouncement from above and tended to worsen the problems, which were often caused by the government itself.

The announcement came after a recent clash between villagers and military police at a coal mine in Luliang county in Yunnan. Local media used language such as "the masses who didn't know the truth were instigated by a small number of evil elements with ulterior motives to attack the coal mine workers and the militia police" and "the villagers attempted to impede the progress of the construction work".

According to the Southern Metropolis Daily report, the propaganda bureau said that party or government policies were often "unreasonable, their actions ineffective or their styles improper." The report continues (Note: Translated text from EastSouthWestNorth):

Experience has shown that the demands from the people with respect to internal contradictions are often reasonable, and that most people will listen to reason. The various levels of government/party should spend more time examining themselves for the cause rather than blaming the masses and handing out labels.

When certain local governments hold press conferences or issue press releases to smear the masses without adequate evidence, the media should refuse to report.

Reporters were also encouraged to report incidents as quickly as possible, but to refrain from making judgments – or listening to government assessments of causality – before an investigation has been conducted.

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