CCTV News Tweets About Zhou Yongkang Corruption Case, Quickly Deletes Tweet [UPDATE]

CCTV tweet

As reported last month, former security chief Zhou Yongkang, now retired, has been the target of high-level corruption probes since at least late August. “How far and high is [Xi Jinping] willing to go to clean up China’s political elite?” the New York Times’s Chris Buckley asked in a September 25 article.

Now we kind of know. The South China Morning Post reported today, citing unnamed sources, that Xi Jinping is overseeing a “special unit” to investigate Zhou, “bypassing the Communist Party’s internal disciplinary apparatus.”

Beijing police chief Fu Zhenghua will report directly to Xi, according to police and graft watchdog sources. Fu is the first person in the party’s history to also hold the concurrent posts of head of Beijing’s armed police, the Standing Committee member of the party’s Beijing municipal committee and deputy minister of public security.

This news was partially confirmed by none other than CCTV News’s Twitter account at around 5:30 pm.

And then, predictably, it was unconfirmed, as the tweet was deleted — just as Western journalists were spitting out Coca-Colas* en masse onto their keyboards.

*We figure 5:30 is pretty late for coffee or tea.

“Why deletion?” is probably the less interesting of the two questions we can ask. There seem to be many good ways to break a story about an unprecedented investigative unit for a former Chinese leader who happened to be of the most powerful and divisive figures on the Politburo Standing Committee; Twitter is not one of them.

How did the tweet ever get sent?

(内参 refers to internal — and confidential — government documents.)

It’s unlikely we’ll find out. But this seems like a reasonable bet:

Although you should probably start following the Twitter accounts of state media anyway, just in case. There must be a whole bunch of interns there, always a click away from making news.

(Above image via George Chen)

UDPATE, 10/22, 10:09 am: CCTV News says it was “targeted.”


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