All CCP Virus-Related Information Considered State Secrets in China: Leaked Classified Documents

May 21, 2020 Updated: May 21, 2020

Classified Chinese government documents recently obtained by The Epoch Times show that Chinese authorities are treating all CCP virus-related information as “state secrets” and have forbidden officials from exposing them to the public.

Ironically, Chinese state-run media Xinhua—the central government’s mouthpiece—commented on Feb. 8: “Countless historical experiences of preventing infectious diseases have shown people that sharing epidemic information to the public is like sunshine that can kill the virus. So, the most effective medicine is publishing all information.”

Leaked Document

Nanning is the capital of the southwestern Guangxi region. The city has seven districts and five counties, with a population of roughly 7.25 million.

The Epoch Times obtained a copy of a document from the Nanning city government dated Feb. 13 that was marked “classified.” It laid down requirements for all local government teams within district and county governments in Nanning that have been set up to deal with the virus.

Another document from Heilongjiang Province in northern China also mentioned that pandemic-related documents are to be treated as top secret—meaning other local governments in China likely received similar notices.

“During the time period of combating the virus, all types of urgent documents, urgent notices, urgent events… internally shared sensitive information, and any information that the [government] leaders haven’t approved to disclose to the public” would be considered state secrets, the document said.

These pandemic-related “state secrets” were protected by the “law on guarding state secrets” released on April 29, 2010, the city government said.

According to the law, seven types of information are treated as state secrets, such as those concerning major policy decisions on state affairs, national defense, diplomatic activities, national economic development, science and technology, state security, and so on.

The document did not explain how pandemic information can be considered “state secrets,” but went into detail about how to keep such information confidential.

Measures

The document said all officials should prepare, edit, and save virus-related “state secrets” only on computers or cell phones not connected to the internet.

All virus-related documents can only be transferred by regular mailing. All staff are banned from taking photos of these documents and sharing these photos.

All officials are not allowed to talk about such information during phone calls, via text messages, or any other internet-based communication channels. They are also forbidden from mentioning the information at home.

Officials cannot bring virus-related documents, related computers, external hard drives, and other movable storage mediums to their homes or public places.

All such documents must be processed at offices in government buildings, with all windows closed. When officials need to open the office window, related staff must pay attention to security, the notice said.

When each level of government organizes pandemic-related meetings, staff should also keep all windows closed. If the meeting goes for very long and participants need to get fresh air, staff can open the windows but must make sure the secrets won’t be leaked, the document noted.

Without a permit from the city government, all government officials and employees, medical staff at hospitals, and related personnel are not allowed to accept media interviews.

Any information that has been approved for public release must be published according to the city government’s orders.

The Epoch Times’ previous reporting has documented the Chinese authorities’ lack of transparency surrounding the virus. In the initial stages of the outbreak, the Chinese regime downplayed the risk of human-to-human transmission in public, while internal government documents showed that authorities were scrambling to contain the virus from spreading.

Local authorities have also consistently underreported virus infections, keeping internal tallies of diagnostic results that differ from officially released data.