Feb 5, 2020 - World

China's leaders call for more censorship on coronavirus

Illustration of a hand in a suit hiding a virus
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After a high-level meeting to address the deadly coronavirus, China's leaders are prescribing even tighter information controls around the outbreak.

Why it matters: The suppression of vital information about the coronavirus during its earliest weeks of transmission contributed to the devastating epidemic China is now facing.

Driving the news: In a Feb. 3 meeting, the Politburo standing committee called for authorities to "strengthen internet and media control" (link in Chinese).

  • “The outbreak is a major test of China’s system and capacity for governance, and we must sum up the experience and draw a lesson from it,” a meeting statement warned, per Bloomberg.

The early days of the epidemic marked a period of unusual openness for Chinese journalists to do high-impact reporting. Privately owned Chinese news outlets Caixin and Caijing published report after report documenting the victims and spread of the illness.

  • But that brief period has already shown signs of ending, as a spate of Chinese-language articles have now been removed, including a Feb. 1 Caijing article that claimed the number of cases and deaths was being underreported.

Go deeper: Here's a compilation of the best of Chinese media reporting over the past few weeks, archived and translated.

Go deeper