Saturday, April 9, 2022

Translation: The Notes That Led to Journalist Shi Tao's Imprisonment

 On April 27, 2005, the Intermediate People's Court of Changsha, Hunan sentenced Shi Tao (师涛), director of the editorial department at the Hunan Contemporary Business News Publishing House, to ten years imprisonment for disclosing a state secret. Specifically, the court said:

[F]ollowing a routine article review and pre-editorial meeting, deputy editors-in-chief surnamed Wang and Yang of the Hunan Contemporary Business News Publishing House again assembled the persons responsible for the headline news, mobile hot-line, editorial, and other departments, to participate in a specialized meeting. In this specialized meeting Wang verbally passed on a summary of the important contents of the top secret state secret, "Notice Regarding Current Stability Work" (Party General Office Document (2004) No. 11) of the Communist Party of China Central Committee General Office and the State Council General Office, and stressed that this document was top secret, and it was not permitted to take notes on or spread it. Defendant Shi Tao, however, secretly took notes on this summary of important contents. Between 7:00 p.m. in the evening of that same day and 2:00 a.m. the following morning, defendant Shi Tao in his office used his personal electronic mailbox [INTENTIONALLY DELETED] to transmit the notes he had secretly taken of the summary of the main contents of the aforementioned Party General Office Document (2004) No. 11 to the electronic mailbox [INTENTIONALLY DELETED] of Hong Zhesheng, one of the organizers of the "Asia Democracy Foundation" located in New York, USA, and editor-in-chief of the foreign website "Democracy Forum" and the electronic periodical "Democracy Newsletter," and provided "198964," as the provider's alias. At the same time, he asked Hong Zhesheng to think of a way to disseminate it as quickly as possible, but not to use Shi Tao's name. On that day the summary of the important contents of the aforementioned Party General Office Document (2004) No. 11 provided by the signatory "198964" was distributed on "Democracy Forum," and afterwards it was also redistributed by foreign websites such as "Boxun" and the "Chinese Democracy and Justice Party."
A full translation of the court judgment (师涛刑事判决书, (2005)长中刑一初字第 29 号) can be found in "State Prosecutions of Speech in the People's Republic of China: Cases Illustrating the Application of National Security and Public Order Laws to Political and Religious Expression" (中華人民共和國政府對言論的訴追:有關國家安全及公共秩序相關法律適用於政治及宗教言論的案例彙編), available for free download at

Below is a translation of the version of Shi's notes published on the Boxun website on April 22, 2004 at

Summary of Document No. 11 of the Central Office of the Communist Party of China (VI) State Office ("Notice Regarding Current Stability Work")

Provided by 198964

On April 20, China's Propaganda Department urgently conveyed to all news agencies the document No. 11 from the Central Office and the State Office, the content of which is the "Notice Regarding Current Stability Work.” The summary is as follows:

1. Analysis of the current situation:

(1) This year marks the 15th anniversary of "6.4", and some overseas pro-democracy activists are more active, and they plan to take action to break through the blockades during the "6.4" anniversary, and prepare to forcibly break through the blockades;
(2) On the issue of liberalization, it is mainly about denying the leadership of the Communist Party, denying the socialist system, engaging in so-called "civil learning," and some hostile forces politicizing criminal cases;
(3) "Falun Gong" cult members are engaging in sabotage activities;
(4) The dissemination of various harmful information on the Internet;
(5) Mass incidents are relatively prominent, mainly manifesting around issues such as demolition and petitioning;
(6) Overseas hostile forces are using religious and other channels (printed materials, the Internet) to win over young people, or conduct academic activities in schools, help students, etc., to engage in illegal activities;
(7) The Hong Kong issue.

The focus is on "6.4", about "Falun Gong," and about “mass incidents."

2. All departments at all levels should take preventive measures:

(1) Resolutely prevent pro-democracy elements from breaking through obstacles and getting inside the borders;
(2) Strictly prevent various activities;
(3) Strictly prevent hostile elements from using the Internet to engage in activities;
(4) Strictly prevent the occurrence of mass incidents;
(5) Strictly prevent the "Falun Gong" cult organization from engaging in sabotage;
(6) Strictly guard the safety of key departments and personnel;
(7) Strictly guard against various factors that affect stability and unity.

3. Five tasks to be paid close attention to at present:

(1) Adhere to the correct theory and sense of responsibility;
(2) Effectively strengthen intelligence work and grasp the situation of various activities;
(3) Adhere to the correct orientation of public opinion, effectively prevent sabotage by foreign hostile elements, and resolutely refrain from making any remarks that are inconsistent with the policies of the central authorities;
(4) Highlight key points and do a good job of prevention and control in a targeted manner;
(5) Reduce mass petitions.

(At the same time, you should pay attention to contacts between overseas pro-democracy activists and individual editors and reporters of domestic media. Once discovered, report it immediately.)












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