Senior Communist Party Official Urges Party to Increase Control Over Chinese Citizens' Ideology

September 1, 2006

The following is a partial translation by CECC staff of a speech given by Liu Yunshan, member of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, secretary of the Secretariat, and director of the Central Propaganda Department, on September 22, 2004 at the National Propaganda Directors Seminar, and subsequently published in the October 16 edition of "Seeking Truth," the official journal of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee, under the title "Earnestly Study and Implement the Spirit of the Fourth Plenary Session of the 16th Chinese Communist Party Central Committee; Strive to Increase the Party's Ability to Lead Ideological Work."

In order to consolidate the guiding position of Marxism, it is necessary to ensure the leadership of the Party in ideological work. This is our Party's valuable experience and the major advantage of our nation's political system. No matter what changes occur in the situation or the environment, there can be no change in the Party's control over ideology. It is necessary to insist on the principle that the Party controls the cadres, to strengthen the building of the leadership ranks in ideological agencies and work units, and to grasp the work and leadership of news publishing, radio and television, and the cultural arts and philosophical and social sciences firmly within the hands of those loyal to Marxism. It is necessary to establish an awareness that this is a battlefield, and that people have a responsibility for defending this territory. The thought and culture battlefield is the primary vehicle and dissemination channel of ideology, and if Marxist thought does not occupy it, then all kinds of non-Marxist, and even anti-Marxist, thought will occupy it. All thought and cultural battlefields must propagandize scientific theory, promote the scientific spirit, disseminate advanced culture, portray a kind heart, and encourage healthy tendencies in society. It is necessary to insist on prosperity on the one hand, and control on the other, to promote prosperity through control, and absolutely refuse to give incorrect thoughts or viewpoints any channel for dissemination. It is necessary to handle problems in the ideological domain in accordance with the principles established by central authorities. . . .

Modern society relies not only upon the power of organizations and the administration to carry out mainstream ideology, more and more it must go through the media for dissemination, and the news media has become a major factor influencing social opinion and the mood of the masses. Our Party must achieve its own goals with respect governing, must firmly maintain a hold over correct guidance, ceaselessly improve its ability to steer public opinion, and use our own ideological theories, agenda, and values to influence society and form a united society. It is necessary to work effectively to create a mainstream public opinion that is vigorous, healthy, and progressive, to make full use of socialist ideology to steer and motivate over a billion citizens, and to create the maximum social consensus possible, and the maximum unification of thought and action possible, among different the different facets and classes of people.

For there to be correct guidance of public opinion, it is necessary to insist on encouraging unity and stability, focus on positive propaganda, and sing the main theme. The march of time must be led by a kind of progressive thinking, and the development of society must be promoted through the power of a strong spirit. To sing the main theme, it is necessary to carry forward a nationalist spirit whose core is patriotism and a spirit of the times whose core is reform and inventiveness, and to carry forward a nationalist spirit whose core is patriotism and a spirit of the times whose core is reform and inventiveness, and to carry forward collectivist and socialist ideology and allow it to become the main stream of modern times and the prevailing fashion of the entire society. To sing the main theme, require the coordination of the lines of propaganda of ideological warfare and give full play to each actor's strong suit, project the themes when utilizing various forms and methods, and give prominence to the themes through the use of contrasting harmonies. To sing the main theme, we shall pay particular attention to technique, and focus on results, and pluck the people's heart strings to bring about their sympathetic response by using vivid and vigorous styles and rich and colorful content. It is necessary to fully bring into play the leadership function of model propaganda in singing the main theme, and create a social atmosphere that is conducive to respect for what is advanced, and the study of what is advanced.

For there to be correct guidance of public opinion, it is necessary to further strengthen and improve news propaganda, to continually enhance its attractiveness and infectiousness. The news media should enhance its political consciousness, awareness of the overall situation and sense of social responsibility, adhere to news propaganda discipline, and strive for news reports to have a sense of connection, and allow the broad masses to enjoy reading, listening, and watching them. It is necessary to continue to improve reports on meetings and leading comrades' activities, to emphasize the value of journalism, and stress practical results. Improve the news dissemination system and the mechanisms for rapid response news reports for breaking events, issue relevant information in a timely manner, and actively and reliably guide hot-button social issues. Strengthen and improve public opinion supervision, and raise the public credibility of public supervision. To strengthen and improve news propaganda, it is necessary to insist on the principle that the Party supervises the media. At no time and under no circumstances shall the nature of the news media as the mouthpieces of the Party and the people be allowed to change, the policy that the Party supervises the media shall not be allowed to change, and the correct guidance of public opinion shall not be allowed to change.

For there to be correct guidance of social public opinion, it is necessary to place a high degree of emphasis on the influence the Internet and other new forms media have on social public opinion, and to actively seize high ground of the domain of propagandizing public opinion. Currently, the Internet has already become a news media with enormous potential, and has become a new forum for public opinion. Currently, our country has over 87,000,000 Internet users. For many intellectuals and young people the Internet has become their first source of information. Taking the initiative in capturing this new ideological work battlefield of the Internet and seizing the high ground of propagandizing public opinion is an imperative requirement in grasping the initiative in propaganda ideology work and an important aspect of increasing the Party's ability to govern. Scientifically grasp the special characteristics and rules of the Internet, strengthen the establishment of the Internet propagandist ranks, take the initiative in supplying content services, and place emphasis on forming online positive public opinion. It is necessary to clarify responsibility for Internet supervision, and form an effective guard against the dissemination of harmful information, and promote long term effective working mechanisms for the healthy development of the Internet.

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It is necessary to explore using the law as a means to strengthen and improve propaganda and ideological work, gradually raise perfected policies to the level of laws and regulations, and encourage the supervision of propaganda cultural enterprises through standardization and the legal system. It is necessary to establish a mechanism to compile and analyze public sentiment in society, and strengthen public sentiment information work, and increase the forward looking nature and initiative of propaganda and ideological work. . . .

With respect to the work of propaganda directed abroad, it is necessary to effectively integrate all of our resources, create a great foreign propaganda structure, and to pay particular attention to news reporting on major events, the landing of major media on foreign soil, and foreign cultural exchanges, and thereby further strengthen our country's international influence.