Chinese media outlets have been issued censorship instructions by government authorities, mandating that no coverage be provided for the upcoming Global Bitcoin Summit, a Beijing-based digital currency conference to be held this weekend, 10th-11th May.
The instructions, leaked online by California-based media outlet China Digital Times, provide evidence that the Chinese government is looking to limit information on bitcoin in the media.
Perhaps most notably, however, the released statement suggests new guidelines for domestic reporting on bitcoin in the future have also been issued:
"All websites are asked not to participate in or report on the summit. Do not hype bitcoins. All reporting on bitcoins must henceforth accord with the specifications of financial regulatory agencies. Please carry out the above immediately."
China Digital Times says it collects directives from a variety of sources and checks the results against media reports. However, since media outlets often receive the reports orally, it stresses that the exact wording of the published version is not always accurate.
Furthermore, since the date on the publication corresponds to the date the information is released, it is not known when the order was issued by Chinese authorities.
The announcement is the latest setback for Global Bitcoin Summit, which released its original lineup in March, but has seen key speakers drop out due to government influence.
On 6th May, the CEOs of five major China-based digital currency exchanges – OKCoin, BTC China, BtcTrade, CHBTC and Huobi – announced they would not attend the conference, and that they would be taking a joint pledge to comply with state policies and regulations.
The move was reportedly made by the businesses due to recent adverse actions from the People's Bank of China, which has moved to more strictly enforce December rulings meant to more firmly separate its traditional financial services sector from the emerging domestic bitcoin economy.
The leak comes amid an uncertain time for China's bitcoin ecosystem, which has recently seen a number of major banks distance themselves publicly from the market.
This week, ICBC, the world's largest bank by total assets and market capitalization, indicated that its accounts could no longer be used in connection with bitcoin or litecoin trading.
The news followed similar statements from CMB (China Merchants Bank), CCB (China Construction Bank), CGB, CEB (China Everbright Bank), Pingan Bank, Huaxia Bank, ABC (Agricultural Bank of China), BOC (Bank of China), SPD Bank and Industrial Bank.
CoinDesk will be attending Global Bitcoin Summit this weekend.
Censorship image via CoinDesk