Hubei Epidemic: A Provincial Propaganda Department Perspective

The Epoch Times 大纪元 is reporting on a February 15, 2020 report of the Hubei Communist Party Committee Propaganda Department to the newly installed Party Secretary Ying Yong.

The report is entitled Hubei Provincial Propaganda Department on Work Done to Implement the Spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Speech by Video Conference on Fighting Epidemic 省委宣传部关于贯切落实习近平总书记在电频连线湖北武汉抗击肺炎疫情前线重要讲话精神工作报告

Monitoring the Web, Censoring Harmful Information, Managing Foreign Journalists, Psychological Counseling

3. Combine Our Strengths, Strengthen Monitoring

  1. We have a total of over 1600 people doing Internet monitoring including personnel at the provincial, city and county levels; directly reporting offices at institutions of higher education, and internet media platforms who both direct attention to specific persons as well as use technical means to cover the entire net in Hubei. Monitoring operates 24 hours a day. In all 606,800 pieces of sensitive information were detected and reported to the Provincial Command Center in 90 special reports including status reports, online requests, public opinion hot topics, and policy suggestions.
  2. Build a capable system to detect and fight rumors We are determined to combine “counter online rumors in a timely fashion” and to “striking hard online” through the coordinated efforts of the Party Propaganda Department, the Network and Information Office, the Media and Public Health Commission Office, Public Security and other organizations to build a good system for providing both good epidemic information and responding to and fighting rumors quickly. Means include news reports, social media, telephone text messages, and text displayed on television screens to get anti-rumor information out quickly. We have issued 1474 anti-rumor messages and worked on controlling 1500 rumor messages.
  3. Strengthen supervision, respond in a timely manner. In order to effectively respond to the opinion situation, to prevent “failure to respond, slow response and inaccurate response” that result in making a small thing a big thing, a big thing explosive, we have built a fully-mature opinion fully-cleared response system, operating it jointly, with response proportionate to the seriousness of the issue, in order to increase our response speed and improve the quality of responses. Since this system was established, the system at all levels of the province have issued 4533 pieces of response messages.
  4. Strictly Manage and Control and Actively Guide. Management and guidance are equally important. On one hand, we have strengthened our management and control of harmful information of various kinds of attacks, rumors, scare-mongering, speculation, leaks of sensitive information, and information deliberately injected from outside Mainland China. As of February 14, we reported to the Central Committee Internet and Information Office that we had deleted 54,000 pieces of information relating to rumors. On the other hand, we have organized the various certified WeChat commentators [Note: specifically allowed to have large audiences notwithstanding restrictions on other WeChat users] to write 400 messages, and arranged for online commentators to participate in discussion groups who have evaluated 400,000 messages and took the initiative to go on the attack against negative opinion.
  5. Take the Initiative in Strengthening Services to and Management of the Foreign News Media. The “Plan for Responding to Foreign Media Coming Hubei Province to Report on the New Coronavirus Pneumonia” was formulated and implemented to strengthen services and management of foreign media who have come to Hubei to conduct interviews includes ten concrete measures. Since the beginning of the epidemic, a total of 60 journalists representing 33 media organizations from outside the borders of Mainland China have come to Hubei to conduct interviews. As the result of discussions and persuasion, 47 of these journalists have already left Hubei Province. As of the evening of February 14, there still remained in Hubei Province journalist from the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, French Television, RT Hong Kong, and Phoenix Satellite TV of Hong Kong: a total of 13 journalists representing five media organizations. Earlier than the rest of the country, we began issuing authoritative reports on Hubei in foreign languages, focused on providing services, and guided media from outside China Mainland in doing objective and accurate reporting of epidemic information. As of February 14, Hubei’s platform “Foreign Language Press Releases” for publishing authoritative information had made nearly 200 press releases of epidemic-related information in English, French and five other foreign languages.


Hubei Propaganda Dept report to new provincial party chief mentions traditional methods to boost propaganda’s reach — new anti-epidemic education lyrics set to music of traditional tunes.  

 Hubei Propaganda Dept report concludes stresses importance of psychological counseling services for people in epidemic areas. Mentions a psychological support app to assist w/evals, interventions. 抗疫心里支持系统ref Xinhua story  “China’s first anti-epidemic psychological support system gives free consultations to over 800 psychologists and physicians”

About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated,with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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