China Orders Media To Stop Reporting Iran Unrest, Desires Stability For Massive Investments

As widespread protests in Iran have now reached a full week, a new censorship directive from the Chinese government has ordered newsrooms across the nation to cease reporting on Iran demonstrations.

The leaked directive, which has been translated and published by the China Digital Times, notifies journalists to "not report any more on the demonstrations in Iran" and that "follow-up reports require further notice from superiors."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Image via AP

The China Digital Times reports the government instructions as follows:

The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

Do not report any more on the demonstrations in Iran. Follow-up reports require further notice from superiors. Relevant information that has already been transmitted and is from an authoritative source and is compliant should no longer be hyped but do not delete it. [Chinese]

News of the Iran protests have been trending on Chinese social media and have received intensive coverage in state and independent media. New York Times Hong Kong correspondent Austin Ramzy observed, "Chinese activist Twittersphere has been very focused on the Iran protests, cheering the expanding demonstrations, with the hope that something like this could happen at home."

However, authorities in Beijing have as their chief driving concern that Iran maintain stability as China has already positioned itself to be the chief international investor in Iranian infrastructural projects, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. When asked about the Iran protests at a regularly scheduled press conference on Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang simply gave a one-sentence answer and moved on, saying, “China hopes that Iran can maintain stability and achieve development.” This decidedly conservative and reserved pro-Tehran response has much more to do with protecting Chinese investment and trade growth in an emerging market, than it does over questions that Iran protests could inspire similar movements domestically.

As multiple reports through the end of 2017 have noted, China has jumped at the opportunity to be a prime mover in Iran's economy since international sanctions were lifted in January 2016 as part of the 2015 nuclear deal brokered by the United Kingdom, United States, France, Russia, China, and Germany. Relations between the two countries began to thaw from the moment Chinese President Xi Jinping took office in 2012, and by January 2016 - at the moment sanctions were lifted - Xi visited Tehran, meeting with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani - which marked the first time a Chinese president visited Iran in 14 years.

China's projected "Belt and Road Initiative" (BRI) reach.

At that time Rouhani and Xi signed agreements related to China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), thus bringing Iran into the massive joint Eurasian development plan as a key connector in the vaunted "New Silk Road" of which Persia is obviously geographically vital. This included 17 multi-billion-dollar deals covering areas of energy, finance, communications, banking, culture, science, technology, and politics, with a further ten year road map of broader China-Iran cooperation. In total this could see trillions pumped into the Iranian economy over the coming decades while physically connecting China with Europe and Africa on an infrastructural level and in an expanding trade relationship.

But should Iran's current unrest continue on a trajectory towards destabilization, such projects would freeze, causing credit lines to dry up and investors to possibly pull out en masse. 

Many analysts have noted that this is precisely why Western firms have remained on the sidelines (fears of new sanctions and potential political instability) even as not only China, but countries like South Korea and Italy - the latter being Iran's biggest European trade partner - sink unprecedented funds into Iran for everything from hospitals to railways to ports and power plants. South Korea's Eximbank for example, signed a $9.5 billion credit line for Iran projects last summer, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua and in early December Iranian and South Korean private companies signed memorandums of understanding to transfer technologies to Iran related to solar and alternative energy, thermal insulation, lithium batteries and electric engines.

Last month the head of the Iran Chamber of Commerce’s investment commission said on the sidelines of an Iran-Italy investment meeting in Rome, “They [Western firms] had better come quickly to Iran otherwise China will take over,” according to the South China Morning Post. Of course, such a call is now further from being heeded as political turmoil has shaken Iran even if for a brief time. 

Though some European banks such as Austria’s Oberbank have recently inked deals with Iran, Western firms have been reluctant with the looming possibility of new US sanctions under the Trump administration - a concern now no doubt compounded by a week of protests initially driven by economic grievances, but which quickly turned into violent clashes with police in some instances, and calls for both Rouhani's removal and the end of clerical rule. A week into the unrest, a reported 22 Iranians have died - mostly civilians demonstrators, but also including one police officer, and some others in accidental deaths attributed to the rioters.

And with international headlines, fueled by the increasingly bellicose statements of some Western leaders and other longtime enemies of Iran like Israel and Saudi Arabia, increasingly casting Tehran's actions in terms of a crackdown on human rights and democratic initiative, China is attempting to mitigate this kind of rhetoric from inundating its own media and potentially shaking confidence in its Iran investments. 


Planet ZOG BennyBoy Thu, 01/04/2018 - 06:14 Permalink

The empire wants to screw up China's investments in Iran the same way they are doing it in Africa and the Middle East.

I don't believe that these "protests" are grass roots by any means, so China not covering them really means China not propagating propaganda.  This entire affair bears the stench of Soros and his globalist owners.

In reply to by BennyBoy

land_of_the_few Latina Lover Thu, 01/04/2018 - 09:19 Permalink

Fake videos and images of "Iran Protests" shared widely on social media were taken from previous unrelated events in Bahrain, Mexico, Afghanistan  Argentina and elsewhere.…

Why should China participate in propagating such obvious lies and manipulation?


In reply to by Latina Lover

LaugherNYC Planet ZOG Thu, 01/04/2018 - 09:14 Permalink

Do you think the people of Iran enjoy living under the thumb of a corrupt Islamist regime? Would you? Do you live there? Are you a soulless troll? Have you been to China? I suggest you go live in one of those countries. Permanently. If you don’t believe in education, work, success and freedom, then you should leave the West and immerse yourself in the sewage of the totalitarian lifestyle. Those protestors are risking their lives and their families’ lives against repression, exploitation and hate. Why do you find that hard to believe?

In reply to by Planet ZOG

gdpetti Planet ZOG Thu, 01/04/2018 - 13:56 Permalink

true... some of the videos/photos have already been proven fakes, such as showing govt support groups as 'protesters'... funny how they do that, no? Or how about no mention of that airplane crash of Bridgewater exec and his family? Simple tourists?

CHina wants to do the usual 'Art of War' tactic of taking over control of the helm without getting their hands dirty first... good luck with that... and Xi's call for better combat readiness for his troops is meaningless if they don't actually get any real combat experience.

In reply to by Planet ZOG

nmewn Thu, 01/04/2018 - 06:10 Permalink

Well I gotta say, at least China & Iran are "more honest" in their government propaganda and censorship methods.

They don't place it on the WaPo's or NYT's front page and try to pass it off as neutral, fair, objective and unbiased journalism.

China & Iran just say print this...or else.


Ahhh, my down voting trolls have found me yet again...LMAO! now what, do you desire defending the propaganda & censorship of the NYT's or the ChiCom's ;-)

Kayman nmewn Thu, 01/04/2018 - 10:32 Permalink


Plenty of paid trolls here now.  Most are so stupid- they have no personal experience, no context, no grey matter.

You can't even say it's a badge of honor to be downvoted. Most are ESL, with little grasp of the subtleties of the English language.

Happy New Year. Always a joy to read your stuff.


In reply to by nmewn

nmewn Kayman Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:33 Permalink


And a very Happy New Year to you too K!

Yeah I was trying to figger out who the gutless lurkers were and was hoping Al's layup shot about masks & anonymity would draw em out...but I guess they got all shy (or even as none of them wanted to "unmask" even under anonymity  ;-)

In reply to by Kayman

SmackDaddy Thu, 01/04/2018 - 06:14 Permalink

Maybe they should have Netanyahu address their legislative body regarding the evil Iranian regime.

You think they'll fall over themselves with applause and ovations like the faggot pedophiles in ours?

Erek Thu, 01/04/2018 - 06:14 Permalink

"Such respect for the people of Iran as they try to take back their corrupt government. You will see great support from the United States at the appropriate time!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018"

When are the Americans going to take back their own corrupt government?

BraceforImpact Thu, 01/04/2018 - 06:19 Permalink

Stop reporting the truth for the convenience of money.


I wish engineering worked that way. If I simply don't include something or ignore it,  people die lol


Society has become hilariously delusional. We're literally a 3rd world planet.


Brace for impact.


Mike Masr Thu, 01/04/2018 - 07:13 Permalink

Maria Zakharova said on Facebook.

"Haley can, for example, share the US experience of putting down protests, tell [the Security Council] about the mass arrests and crackdown against the Occupy Wall Street movement or about the “clean-up operation” in Fergusson,” she sarcastically added.

The Occupy Wall Street protests began in the world’s financial capital, New York City, in September 2011. People came to Zuccotti Park located in the Wall Street financial district to protest against social and economic inequality in the US. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, the police crackdown was swift, arresting as many as 700 protesters in one day as they marched across Brooklyn Bridge on October 1. Later, it was also revealed the FBI monitored movements through its Joint Terrorism Task Force and assigned counterterrorism agents to investigate OWS, despite labelling it peaceful.

InnVestuhrr Mike Masr Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:36 Permalink

There is nothing "peaceful" about social parasites who want to use the power of government to confiscate and redistribute the earnings of the successful, ie coercive collectivism, one of the OWS et al agendas.

Anyone who believes in and promotes this ideology is a thief and parasite and whatever is done to them, especially killing them, is well deserved and justified.

In reply to by Mike Masr

Son of Captain Nemo Thu, 01/04/2018 - 08:38 Permalink

Wonder if the "role(s)" are being coordinated between Russia and China in handling the PR this way?...

Reason I ask that question is Russia is doing the complete opposite with RT News reporting within 3 days of the protests that the majority have been moving in the direction of pro Tehran movement(s) and interviewing people on the street that have been adamant that the U.S. and Israel need to stay out of Iran's domestic affairs.

The biggest "smoking gun" out of all of this within the past week is the death of an Iranian police officer that mirrors what happened in the Berkut incident in Maidan in 2014 where they were dressing paramilitary types as police officers and "shooting cops"!...

Per the commenter above...  This has George Soros/Langley/Mossad funded "stink" all over it!!!

Posa Thu, 01/04/2018 - 09:39 Permalink

Maybe China needs to send a few billions in bridge loans to open employment and training offices across Iran... clearly these investments will transform the country and that strikes fears into the hearts of Iran's enemies... may have something to so with the timing of "spontaneous" protests... though that doesn't reduce the real grievances that the population faces... but it's nothing that a decent paycheck can't cure

jet20 Thu, 01/04/2018 - 09:43 Permalink

It is truly fascinating how China still seems to depend on a Stalinist top-down censorship system where journalists are actually being instructed on what to report on.

Here in the West we have evolved to superior levels of censorship: the ruling press KNOWS what to report on and internet corporations KNOW what must be hidden from the sheep if they want to keep making massive profits. I'd call that bottom-up totalitarianism! End result is the same though...