NOTE: This translation was originally published on the China Copyright and Media blog, a project of DigiChina’s Prof. Rogier Creemers of the University of Leiden. It has not been edited, double-checked, or standardized with DigiChina’s original content. Read more.
Report concerning the Present Situation in the Ideological Area
The mainstream situation in the ideological area.
Since the 18th Party Congress, two plenary meetings have been successfully organized under the firm leadership of the Party Centre with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, and the situation in all the undertakings of the Party and the State are good, the Party’s work style and the government work style bring a new atmosphere every day, the cohesion and centripetal force of the entire nation is further strengthening, self-confidence about the path, self-confidence about theory and self-confidence about the system has been further enhanced, and the mainstream of ideology is positive, healthy and upward. This is mainly reflected in: the spirit of the 18th Party Congress and a series of important speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping greatly unified the thoughts of the entire Party and the people in the entire country, and the common ideological basis for united struggle is being incessantly consolidates; the new generation of collective Central leadership has rolled out a series of new measures to govern the country, it elaborated the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, it improved work styles, closely connected with the masses, rigorously enforced diligence and thrift, and opposed extravagance and waste, it expanded anti-corruption and pro honesty strength, gaining the praise and endorsement of the broad cadres and masses; it persist in making scientific development into the main theme, making the acceleration of transforming economic methods into the main thread, and making raising economic growth quality and productivity into the central task, economic development maintains favourable tendencies, which buoyed the people’s faith in the prospects for development; it strive to guarantee and improve the people’s livelihoods, rolling out new measures for the benefit and welfare of the people, and people yearn ever more for future beautiful lives; studying, propagating and implementing the spirit of the 18th Party Congress has been made into the primary political task on the propaganda, ideology and culture front, which rapidly aroused enthusiasm and provided deep guidance, the theme of the times and the main melody of Socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Chinese Dream have been sung, positive propaganda has been strengthened and expanded, guidance over profound issues has been strengthened and management of the ideological battlefield has been strengthened, stimulating ideological unity and cohesion of forces, creating a favourable atmosphere and providing spiritual strength for the realization of new developments in the undertakings of the Party and the country.
II, Prominent problems in the present ideological sphere that merit attention.
At the same time as fully affirming the mainstream in the ideological area, we must also soberly consider the complexity of the situation and the acute struggle in the ideological sphere. At present, there are the following mistaken thinking trends, standpoints and activities that merit attention.
1, Propagating Western constitutionalist democracy. Attempting to deny the present leadership and to deny the political system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Western constitutionalist democracy has a clear political connotation and orientation. It includes the tripartite separation of powers, the multi-Party system, universal suffrage, judicial independence, nationalization of the military and other such matters, it is a bourgeois concept of the State, political model and institutional design. The topic of constitutionalist democracy has been around for a long time, and has been played up often recently. This mainly manifests itself as: using the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the implementation of the current Constitution to raise the banner of “protecting the Constitution” and “ruling the country according to the law”, accusing the Party’s leadership of overriding the Constitution, and China of “having a Constitution but no constitutionalism”. Some people also use the “dream of constitutionalism” to distort the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, saying that “constitutionalist democracy is the only way out”, and “China should follow the global trend of constitutionalism”. The danger of propagating Western constitutionalist democracy lies in setting the Party’s leadership against the implementation of the Constitution and the law, denying Party leadership with Western constitutionalist democracy and abolishing the people’s democracy, essentially, this aims to deny our country’s Constitution and the system and principles determined in it, realize a change of banners in the end, and bring the Western political system and model to China.
2. Propagating “universal values”, attempting to shake the ideological and theoretical basis for Party rule.
Some people propagate the political objective of “universal values”, aiming to make Western values transcend time and space, transcend countries, and transcend the common values of the classes of humankind, they believe that Western liberties, democracy and human rights are universal and eternal. This mainly manifests itself as: distorting the democracy, liberties, equality, fairness, rule of law and other such values that our Party proposes, saying that “the CCP has accepted universal values, this is the victory of universal values”; they propagate that “Western values are the mainstream of human civilizations”, saying that “only if China accepts Western universal values, will it be able to progress”, and “reform and opening up is the process of progressively accepting universal values”. Under the situation that Western countries have held economic, military and scientific superiority for a long time, these argument are strongly misleading and duplicitous, their objective lies in confusing fundamental differences between Western value views and the values that we propose, and in the end to replace the Socialist core value system with Western values.
3, Propagating civil society, attempting to deconstruct the social basis for Party rule.
Civil society is a sort of social and political theory originating from the West, it hold that individual rights are supreme in the social sphere, and that the State may not interfere with these. In recent years, the concept of civil society has been dressed up as a political tool by Western anti-China forces, some people in our country also propagate it with ulterior motives. This mainly manifests itself as: using civil society to propagate Western political concepts, stating that establishing civil society in China is a precondition to guarantee individual rights, and is the basis for realizing constitutionalist democracy; seeing civil society as a “panacea” to move grass-roots social management forward in China, and engaging in all kinds of so-called citizens’ activities. The essence of propagating civil society is that it is aimed at eliminating grass roots Party organization leadership and grass roots regimes from grass roots self-governance by the masses, and even opposing them with each other, so as to shape political opposition forces.
4. Propagating neoliberalism, attempting to change our country’s basic economic system.
Neoliberalism proposes absolute economic liberalization, thorough privatization and complete marketization, and opposes any State intervention or regulation of the economy. Western countries, led by the U.S. have, under the name of globalization, spared no effort to promote neoliberalism around the world, which brought catastrophic results to Latin America, the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries, and resulted in the fact that they themselves sunk into an international financial crisis from which they find it difficult to extricate themselves. In China, this mainly manifests itself as: preaching the “market omnipotence theory”, saying that our country’s macro-level regulation smothers market efficiency and vitality; opposing the public ownership system, saying that our country’s State-owned enterprises are “State monopolies”, whose low efficiency destroys market economy order, and which should be “completely privatized”. These arguments are actually aimed at changing our country’s basic economic system and weakening government control over the key branches of the national economy.
5, Propagating Western news views, challenging our country’s principle that the Party manages the media and its press and publications management system.
Some people, under the pretence of “news freedom”, propagate Western value views and deny the principle of the Party nature of our country’s media. This mainly manifests itself as: professing that media are “social utilities” and the “fourth estate”, attacking the Marxist news view; preaching the “free exchange of online information”, besmirching our country’s strengthening of Internet management for being a suppression of online discourse; saying that our media are “a blind spot of the rule of law, and a special area of rule of man”, calling for the introduction of a news law according to Western concepts; claiming that our country limits the freedom of press and publications, kicking up a fuss about abolishing propaganda management departments. Propagating the value of the Western news view, which is preaching the abstract and absolute freedom of news, opposing Party leadership over the media, in an attempt to open up breaches for the ideological infiltration of our country.
6. Propagating historical nihilism, attempting to deny the history of the Chinese Communist Party and the history of the New China.
Historical nihilism means distorting the history of the Party and the history of the new China under the name of “re-evaluation”. This mainly manifests itself as: denying the revolution and claiming that the revolution under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party “merely had destructive effects”; denying the historical inevitability of China’s voice of the Social path, claiming that this was “blundering onto the wrong way”, and the history of the Party and the history of the new China are “a series of successive mistakes”; denying historical events and historical persons on whom verdicts have been reached, criticizing revolutionary ancestors and slandering Party leaders. Recently, some people used the 120th anniversary of the birth of Comrade Mao Zedong to deny the scientific value and guiding role of Mao Zedong Thought. Some people separate the two historical periods before and after reform and opening up, and even oppose to them to each other, either they use the historical period after reform and opening up to deny the historical period before reform and opening up, or they use the historical period before reform and opening up to deny the historical period after reform and opening up. The harm of historical nihilism is that it attempts to fundamentally deny the historical position and role of the Chinese Communist Party through denying the history of the Chinese Communist Party and the history of the New China, and so deny the legitimacy of long-term rule by the Chinese Communist Party.
7, Challenging reform and opening up, challenging the Socialist nature of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.
In recent years, there have been incessant voices debating reform, all sorts of voices arose in a confusion of great numbers, some discourse clearly deviates from Socialism with Chinese characteristics. This mainly manifests itself as: some impute the contradictions and problems in development to reform and opening up, saying that “reform and opening up has been overdone” and “deviates from the Socialist orientation”, they question whether or not what China is doing is Socialism or not, or simply say that it is “capital Socialism”, “State capitalism” or “new bureaucratism”. Some say that “reform is still far from satisfactory” or “the sluggishness of political structural reform impedes economic structural reform”, they kick up a fuss about how we should do so-called complete and thorough reform with Western systems as the norm. These views in fact aim to deny the line, principles and the policies of the Party since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Centre, and so deny Socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The abovementioned mistaken thinking trends and viewpoints exist in large numbers in foreign media and reactionary publications, and permeate into the borders through the Internet and underground channels; they are also disseminated to a certain extent on domestic online forums, battle line-ups and microblogs; they appear at reporting meetings, conferences, in college and university classrooms, forums and lectures, popular reading groups and in a few publications. If they are allowed to spread, this will interfere with the ideological consensus about major questions such as what kind of banner to raise, which path to follow and with objectives to pursue, etc., and interfere with the bigger picture of our country’s reform, development and stability.
Western anti-China forces and domestic “dissidents” also incessantly carry out infiltration activities in our country’s ideological area and challenge our mainstream ideology, among the main recent activities are: first, some people disseminate open letters and letters of advice, conduct jointly signed petitions, and put forward political demands for political reform, human rights, the release of “political criminals”, “redressing June 4th”, etc.; they make a hubbub about openness of officials’ assets, online corruption, media management and other hot and sensitive topics, and they provoke dissatisfaction about the Party and the government. Second, Western embassies in China, media organs and non-governmental organizations act within our borders under all kinds of names to disseminate Western value views, and foster so-called anti-government forces. Third, reactionary political publications are concocted abroad, and some people domestically organize secret compilation of reactionary publications, there are also people who take pictures recording sensitive topics, spread political rumours, and blacken Party and State leaders. Fourth, there is the manipulation and the hubbub about Tibetan self-immolations, the fabrication of terror incidents in Xinjiang, the use of ethnic and religious problems to engage in separationist and destructive activities. Fifth, there is the intensification of conducting online infiltration of our country, and illegal gatherings within the borders. Sixth, there are dynamic manifestations by “dissidents” and “rights defenders”, some work in concert with and rely on the support of Western anti-China forces, this indicates that the situation of infiltration and counter-infiltration in the ideological area and remains severe, as long as we persist in the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and persist in Socialism with Chinese characteristics, the position of Western anti-China forces pressuring us to change will not change, and they will point the spearhead of Westernization, separation and “colour revolutions” at us always. In response, we can absolutely not relax vigilance, and certainly not lower our guard.
III, Give high regard to ideological work
Historical experience has demonstrated that if economic work is not done well, great troubles will follow, and that ideological work is not done well, great troubles will follow as well. With regard to real harm of Western anti-China forces that carry out Westernization, fragmentation and “peaceful revolution” of our country, and in the face of the grave challenges in the ideological field at present, all levels’ Party Committees and governments, and especially main leading comrades, must give high regard to ideological work and closely grasp leadership power and initiative.
1, Strengthen leadership over ideological work.
All levels’ Party Committees and governments must fully understand the long-term nature, complexity and acuity of the struggle in the ideological area, and further strengthen their political consciousness, their consciousness about the bigger picture, their sense of responsibility and their sense of anxiety. Strengthen the responsibility of number one leaders, bring ideological work onto the important matters agenda, regularly analyse and research new situations and new trends in the ideological area, timely and effectively respond to them, prevent and deal well with all sorts of problems in the ideological area.
2, Guide Party members and cadres in clearly distinguishing theoretical right and wrong.
Carry out powerful refutation of mistaken thinking trends and standpoints that have great influence and cause great harm, help the people in distinguishing right and wrong, and clarifying their understanding. Party members and cadres, and especially high-level leading cadres must be good at looking at problems politically, from the bigger picture, strategically and theoretically, clearly understand the essence of mistaken viewpoints and standpoints, perceive their theoretical mistakes, and perceive the essence of mistaken viewpoints and standpoints, as well as perceive their political harm. With regard to major political principles and great questions of right and wrong, on what to support and what to oppose, our banners must be clear and our attitude firm. We must straiten political discipline and maintain a high level of consistency with the Party Centre with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary, it is not permitted to disseminate opinions violating the Party’s theory, line, principles and policies, it is not permitted to openly publish discourse violating the Centre’s decisions, and it is not permitted to fabricate and disseminate political rumours and discourse vilifying the image of the Party and the State.
3, Persist unwaveringly in the principle that the Party manages the media.
This is decided by our political system and the nature of our media. We must persist in the correct political orientation, closely hold to the principle of the Party nature of news and social responsibility, and be of one heart and one mind with the Party in political matters. Persist in the correct public opinion orientation, implement the correct demands of the orientation into all areas and all processes of work, and keep the gate well in terms of politics, content, procedures, technology and all other areas. Put news media leadership rank and team construction in an even more important position, strengthen education about the Marxist view of news, guarantee that the leadership power of news media is grasped in the hands of people who maintain consistency with the Party Centre with Xi Jinping as General Secretary.
4, Realistically strengthen management of the ideological battlefield.
Implement the principle of who is in charge, is responsible and the principle of localized management, we must closely grasp political responsibility with regard to sensitive events and complex, difficult themes in the ideological area, dare to take matters on, dare to grasp and dare to manage, ensure that everyone is responsible to protect the territory, and everyone fulfils their responsibility to protect the territory. Strengthen management of all levels and all sorts of propaganda and cultural battlefields, perfect and implement relevant management systems, absolutely do not provide dissemination channels for mistaken thinking trends and positions. Earnestly implement the “NPC Standing Committee Decision concerning Strengthening the Protection of Online Information”, strengthen online public opinion guidance, and clean up the online public opinion environment. Improve and innovate management methods and means, ensure management according to the law, scientific management and effective management.
Another translation of this document is available on ChinaFile.