Reporters Told: More on Celebrity Gossip, Less on Body Factories

August 27, 2012 6:15 pm Last Updated: October 1, 2015 12:30 pm
The front page of The China Youth Daily. (

China Youth Daily, the official newspaper of Communist Youth League, was given a crystal clear demonstration of what propaganda authorities like, and what they dislike, recently: it received a “punishment order” for reporting about the trade in human bodies, and a “reward order” for reporting on celebrity gossip. The notices were stuck to the wall near the newspaper’s entrance recently; a visitor saw them and could not resist snapping photos and posting them online, where they went viral. 

The first article, published on Aug. 22, was about how human body plastination factories in Dalian were suspected to have used the bodies of executed criminals for exhibition around the world. Plastination is the replacement of body fluids with polymers for preservation. 

A photograph of punishment and reward notices stuck on the wall near the entrance of the newspaper office at the China Youth Daily. Propaganda authorities sent a clear message to reports about what to write about and what not to with the notices. (Xiaoran 520/

The Epoch Times has reported on how the disgraced official Bo Xilai, and his wife Gu Kailai, who was on Aug. 9 given a suspended death sentence, were involved in the body trade. According to a source, they arranged for the unclaimed bodies of Falun Gong practitioners to be sold to the plastination factories. Those reports preceded an intensive focus on the story by Chinese netizens and Internet portals.  

The China Youth Daily article had followed this trend, but then received the punishment order and purged the article from its website.

The Chinese regime’s censors were more fond of the second article, about a story on how Yang Mi, a popular actress in China, was “blasted for wearing a sexy black skirt to attend a music festival.” 

“These pictures vividly demonstrate the Party’s current policies in the guidance of public opinion,” wrote netizen Miniantch on Aug. 27. The user regularly comments on news items and had over 40,000 followers on Tencent Weibo, a Chinese Twitter-like service.

The purpose was to instill “indifference to national politics,” wrote a netizen in Guangdong. Party-controlled media “make no effort to increase the knowledge of the people, while purposely indulging in indecent love and struggle between men and women – this is the point of their media’s existence,” he wrote.

Another article disliked by the authorities was included in the punishment notice, about the environmental damage caused by coal mining in Sichuan Province.

The notices were posted on Sina Weibo, another popular microblog, on Aug. 26 by Lu Guoping. Lu was reposting a deleted picture that originated from another Weibo user, “Xiaoran 520,” the marketing director of a company in culture and media industry, according to his Sina account.

“I was visiting friends working in the government media,” Xiaoran wrote, “As I entered, I immediately saw the notices of award and punishment right next to each other. I could hardly contain myself.”

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