On Monday, this vaguely frightening message dropped in my inbox. It was from a guy I know in the Property Department, but the instructions to forward and lack of signature suggest that the message really originated elsewhere. (the big bosses? the Shanghai office?)
1. Dalian’s city government has made a public announcement regarding the closure of the PX project, and is working on follow-up plans. So, tomorrow, Saturday August 20th, we ask all the staff not to attend gatherings or rallies in any shape or form.
2. We ask colleagues using various types of public media (microblogging, text messaging, forums etc.) not to use radical, open speech. The government department will carry out inspection and control, and can take measures to deal with this type of thing.
We also ask that the property department disseminate this message before 2 o’clock today. Because we are notifying you on Saturday, we ask the person in charge of each department to notify their staff after receiving this message.
Original Chinese text below:
Since, as far as I know, there were no plans for a follow-up protest this weekend, this seems like an unnecessary threat. But with this message, it’s made clear that last weekend the public had its shot at public protest; the government doesn’t want any more, thanks very much.
My deskmate suggested that this warning was about the Dalian government’s image. “If there are further protests, it’ll look bad to the central government – it’ll look like the Dalian government can’t control the city,” she explained.
The other odd thing is the use of my company’s email to get the message out. Did the government contact most of the big companies in Dalian, or is my company just trying to warn/protect its employees?