Grasp the Techniques of Mastery and Guidance of Public Opinion: Raise the Quality of Responding to and Understanding Public Opinion Crises

May 25, 2005

The following is a partial translation by CECC staff of an article entitled "Grasp the Techniques of Mastery and Guidance of Public Opinion: Raise the Quality of Responding to and Understanding Public Opinion Crises," which appeared in the February 2005 edition of the Chinese government's "News Journalist" magazine. This article was part of a state-sponsored propaganda campaign to justify deploying Party and government personnel to manipulate public opinion.


The news media are the subject of media propaganda, and what we often refer to as "public opinion guidance" means being able to carry out effective control and guidance of the content disseminated by, and the direction of the flow of, public opinion. Every class, ruling party, and social group will make all types of public opinion control and guidance conform with the direction they require pursuant to their interests and volition. In this process, their primary duty is to publicize mainstream public opinion and allow mainstream public opinion to gain the upper hand over the overall public opinion arena.

When the masses have opinions and points of view regarding certain real-world political and social issues, including the country's domestic and foreign policies, the situation of the government's work, and all types of social corruption and social phenomenon, the government should first open the paths of speech, and encourage the masses to speak, and once the masses' opinion appears, especially that which is in the form of public opinion that is criticizing, then the government should clear the way in a timely manner, and allow it to attain dissemination through normal channels. . . . Particularly in a situation where modern broadcast technology is developing and changing daily, and the use of Internet and other high level new broadcast technologies and methods are becoming more widespread, it is becoming more and more difficult to effectively use the method of "blocking criticism."

Practice teaches that the truly effective method is to vigorously remove obstructions, and actively guide, and allow public opinion that is vigorous and forward to gradually expand the scope of its voice, and it is especially to channel in a timely manner those hot public opinions that have already exerted a definite scope of influence within the masses into the public opinion forums that the Party and the government support and publicize, as this will enable them to develop into the dominant public opinion. And as for those negative and counter-productive public opinions, we should rapidly clear the way, and allow them to fade away from the public opinion arena, to prevent them from becoming a public opinion crisis and creating a negative influence.