Party Cadre's Report to Scholars Stresses the Need to "Capture the Ideological Battlefield"

August 28, 2005

In January 2005, a Communist Party official at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) gave a report at the CASS annual meeting that discussed "the central authorities' problems regarding the need to emphasize and strengthen the Party's leadership of ideology work, and realistically consolidate the guiding position of Marxism in the ideological domain." According to the report, the appearance of the Internet poses a new challenge to the Party's leadership. The speaker justified recent Party policy statements calling for increased censorship as necessary to counteract threats posed by "Western enemy forces."

The report noted that the Fourth Plenum of the 16th Communist Party Central Committee produced in September 2004 "an important strategic plan to strengthen the establishment of the Party's governing ability." It also said that in October 2004, the Party Central Committee had issued a document entitled "Chinese Communist Party Central Propaganda Department Regarding Current Situation of Ideological Theory Domains and Working Measures that Need to Be Adopted." According to an official with the General Administration of Press and Publication, the Party issued this document, also referred to as "Document Number 29," to increase pre-publication screening of the ideological orientation of books, newspapers, and magazines.

Using military metaphors that Chinese officials employ to justify increasing censorship, the report said that in the preceding year, Party leaders had stressed the need to "use Marxism to capture the ideological battlefield," because "throughout history the ideological battlefield has been an important position from which enemy forces fiercely struggle with us, and if a problem appears on this battlefield, it may lead to social chaos and even loss of ruling power."

The report claimed the Chinese Communist Party should "derive a deep lesson" from the Soviet Communist Party's "fall from power:"

The leaders of the former Soviet Union abandoned the leadership position of Marxism in the ideological domain, and for that reason brought about non-Marxism and anti-Marxism trends of thought that lead to a temporary uproar, and this was a significant cause of the break-up of the Soviet Union.

According to the report, "noise and static" has been appearing in the "ideological domain," and "foreign enemy forces have united to form an alliance." It cautions that "Western enemy forces will not abandon their political schemes to westernize us and divide us, and they always desire to topple the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and our country's socialist system."