Ideology Work Must Be Grasped Tightly

This Autumn Stone editorial was first published in Qiushi on 1 April.

Ideological work is extremely important work for our Party, it relates to the Party’s future fate, it relates to a long period of peace and order for the country, and it relates to the cohesion and centripetal force of the nation. We must give high regard to and realistically strengthen ideological work, we must especially grasp the leadership power, management power and discourse power tightly in our hands, we cannot let it fall to others at any moment, otherwise, we will make an irredeemable historical mistake.

The key is implementing leadership responsibilities

To do ideological work well, we must first and foremost resolve the question of leadership power. The Chinese Communist Party is the leading core of the undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Party leadership mainly is ideological, political and organizational leadership, and among these, ideological leadership has an extremely large significance for leadership over the country and society. Tightly grasping the leadership power in ideological work is a requirement for consolidating the dominant position of Marxism in the ideological area under new circumstances, and for consolidating the common ideological basis for the united struggle of the entire Party and the entire people, it is a requirement for perfecting and developing the institutions of Socialism with Chinese characteristics and moving forward the modernization of the country’s governance structure and governance capacity, and it is a requirement for responding to the ideological infiltration that Western hostile forces conduct against us.

To lead means to drive and to guide. Our country’s broadest popular masses believe in and support our Party, they are willing to march with the Party, and it is crucial that our Party must stand at the forefront of the times and in the front line of the struggle, and leads the masses forward; at present, the struggle ideological area is acute and complex, and it is crucial that our Party must fly its banner clearly, sing the main melody among the hubbub of the mass of voices, and guides social thinking trends. Over the past few years, some mistaken thinking trends and undercurrents have welled up, and brought chaos to the thinking of a part of the masses. At this time, all levels’ leading Party cadres must step forward and speak, firmly propagate the Party’s theories, line, principles and policies, firmly propagate the major work deployments of the Centre, firmly propagate the Centre’s major analyses and judgments concerning circumstances, determinedly maintain a high level of consistency with the Party Centre, and persist in safeguarding the authority of the Centre. They must shout loudly at and strike hard those people who have been captured by mistaken thoughts, in order to warn them.

In recent years, a strange phenomenon appeared in the Party and in society, which is that whoever publishes positive discourse, whoever publishes discourse supporting the Party and the government, whoever denounces those discourses that attack and slander the Party and the government, is besieged, and silence often reigns in our own camp, or our voices are not loud, our support and protection for positive voices is insufficient. This sort of phenomenon merits deep reflection. If we allow this sort of phenomenon to develop, that means we abandon our leadership responsibilities, and will let leadership power fall to others. In the ideological area, we do not engage in pointless disputes, but where great questions of right and wrong are concerned, or major questions about the choice of institutional model and building value systems are concerned, we can absolutely not become inattentive, and we can certainly not give way. Leading cadres must dare to stand in the teeth of the storm and conduct struggle, they cannot take a detour around great questions of right and wrong, they cannot use “not disputes”, “no sensationalism” and “let them talk” as an excuse for their own lack of action, and they cannot do the sort of “protection of their public image” thing. On the battlefield, there are no “liberal-minded gentlemen”, in questions of great right and wrong, there are also no “liberal-minded gentlemen”. In the ideological and political struggle that relates to the future fate of the Party and the country, no leading cadre can be a bystander, they must be loyal bodyguards for the Party and the people.

To see whether or not a leading cadre is politically mature or not, or whether he can take on important responsibilities, an important aspect is to see whether he pays attention to and is good at grasping ideological work or not. The main responsible comrades in all levels’ Party Committees and all leading comrades in charge of ideological work should stand in the first line of ideological work with banners flying clearly, they are duty-bound to bear their political responsibilities. Main responsible comrades in Party Committees must take the lead in grasping ideological work, take the lead in reading the content of the major media in their localities and departments, take the lead in grasping leadership over media in their localities and departments, take the lead in criticizing mistaken viewpoints and erroneous tendencies, strengthen their analysis and judgment of major question in the ideological area and the comprehensive planning of major strategic tasks. Where leadership in ideological work is weak, resulting in grave consequences, there shall be strict accountability.

The ideological area cannot be separated from management

Something closely connected to leadership power is management power. Must the ideological area be managed? Of course it must. Thoughts are intangible, but the media that carry and disseminate thoughts, battlefields, etc., are tangible, they are a part of the social undertaking, and must naturally be managed. Marx and Engels once pointed out that: “they rule also as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age”. (Collected Works of Marx and Engels, vol. 1, p. 551). What is meant here by the “regulation” of the production and distribution of ideas, is management. In fact, in modern society, there is no area that does not require management, it is said that “without rules, there cannot be squares and circles”, management also is productive force.

The West boasts about its so-called freedom of speech and freedom of the press, but in fact, their control of ideology is severe. The true rulers of Western societies are capital-monopolist groups, those big Western media that control the wind and the waves in their own country and the international public opinion sphere, and exert the most power and influence over politics, economics, ideology and culture, are all controlled by the hand of capital-monopolist groups. Western media can hold politicians accountable, censure political parties and criticize governments, they can bring some politicians down, make some political parties lose elections, and let a government lose office, but they can absolutely not fundamentally challenge, criticize or oppose their capitalist bosses and the capitalist system. Western capital-monopolist groups use their huge wealth to hire a large batch of ideological and public opinion elites, who dress up capitalist ideology as so-called “universal values”, domestically, they conduct long-term propaganda and inculcation of the masses, they engage in ideological confinement, anything that does not conform to mainstream ideology is seen as “politically incorrect”; they draw ideological lines internationally, and spare no effort to export Western ideology globally they use Western standards to judge all events occurring in the world, what conforms to Western standards is seen as good, and what does not conformed is demonized. The United States often send soldiers abroad , creating so many humanitarian disasters! And Western media even act as information stations and tools for public opinion battles in these wars. The West regularly talks about “the free circulation of ideas”, but when have they ever earnestly introduced ideological theories and value views that are different from Western ideology? Why do many Americans have a narrow vision, and has their ignorance of the outside world reached such a shocking extent? Is it possible that it is the result of the long-term conduct of ideological blockades and policies to keep the population stupid?

Socialist ideology reflects the fundamental interests of the broadest people, and so it never conceals its own political positions and viewpoints. Where press and publications, radio and television, culture and art, social science and other such propaganda and culture departments, organs and media are concerned, where the Party’s propaganda work of ideology and culture is concerned, it means we must stress the Party nature. The principle of the Party nature is the fundamental principle of ideological work, and is the core of the question of management in the ideological sphere.

In stressing the Party nature, three matters are the most important. First, persisting in the leadership of the Party. Ideologically, persisting in the dominant position of Marxism; politically, persisting in the orientation of serving the people and serving Socialism, and maintaining a high degree of consistency with the Party Centre; organizationally, guaranteeing that all levels and all sorts of propaganda and culture organs’ leadership power is held tightly in the hands of persons loyal to the Party and the people. Second, persisting in the consistency of responsibility towards the Party and responsibility towards the People. The Party has wholeheartedly serving the people as its basic purpose, it is the most faithful representative of the people’s interest, it has no private interest of its own outside of the interest of the people, this has decided that responsibility towards the Party in propaganda and culture work is consistent with responsibility towards the people. Third, persisting in the Party’s propaganda discipline. Propaganda and culture work not only requires observance of the Constitution and the law, and submitting to administrative management by relevant State departments, but we must also observe the Party’s propaganda discipline, including all kinds of concrete work requirements, matters needing attention, etc. If we do not stress discipline, leadership power and management power will come to nothing.

Now, the influence of the Internet is growing ever larger. Letting the Internet be a relatively open and free public opinion environment, and letting it become a supplement to mainstream public opinion battlefields basically should be beneficial and constructive. But online rumours spread widely, chaotic phenomena of online rights infringement appear in quick succession, online negative speculation causes temporary uproars, making cyberspace become foul and chaotic, gravely harming this sort of constructivity, will it do not to manage this? Putting chaotic online phenomena in order according to the law and cleaning up cyberspace relate to the struggle in the ideological sphere, relate to the consolidation and expansion of mainstream ideology and public opinion, relate to the bigger picture of national reform, development and stability, and are great matters that must be handled well.

The management in the ideological sphere has its complexities and peculiarities. With regard to the masses’ proper, reasonable and well-intentioned criticism and supervision, regardless of how sharp it is, we welcome it, we must never be unhappy, and can certainly not suppress it; we must not only welcome it, but must also earnestly listen and realistically improve. With regard to academic questions, we should promote democracy, equal discussion, persuade people with reason, ensure that there are no forbidden zones in research, and there is discipline in propaganda. With regard to questions of ideological understanding, we should state the facts clearly, stress reason, strengthen positive propaganda, and guide matters in a focused manner. With regard to major political principles and great questions of right and wrong, on what to support and what to oppose, we must fly our banners clearly and have firm attitudes. The Party must manage the media, manage the orientation, manage teams and manage cadres, strengthen the responsibilities of controlling and sponsoring departments as well as localized management, and let mainstream ideology and public opinion firmly occupy ideological battlefields.

Winning the power of initiative with discourse power

To do ideological work well, discourse power is also of the utmost importance. We ourselves are incessantly summarizing China’s development path, but there are also people who have made other interpretations and evaluations, furthermore, they do their utmost to vie with our Party for discourse power and influence. In the past few years, the ideological and theoretical sphere has been lively, and some problems have led to great disputes. Having disputes is not a bad thing, the truth will always become clearer through more debate, the important matter is that discourse power must be firmly grasped.

Now, the achievements that China has gained in economic and social development are affirmed internationally for the most part, leaders of various countries will express admiration when they meet with the leaders of our country. At the same time, there are also an increasing number of people who begin to affirm the governance structure and governance capacity of our country, and this is exactly what is most taboo to the West. When the New China had just been founded, there were people in the West who prophesied that the Chinese Communist Party could do a revolution, but that it could not do construction, they looked upon us with ridicule. After reform and opening up, our country’s economy started to develop rapidly, and there were some people around the world who again made snide remarks, when we did well, there was the “China threat theory”, when we ran into difficulties, there was the “China collapse theory”, they never were not in our ears. In thirty years, we have undergone many storms and waves, but we have not only endured all of them, we have also developed even better after the storms and waves passed, in incessant clear contrast with the situation of chaos in a number of countries worldwide. Practice demonstrates that our country marches a successful development path that is different from the Western countries, we have formed a set of successful institutions and systems that is different from Western countries. We use facts to declare the bankruptcy of the “end of history theory”, and to declare the bankruptcy of the one-way view of history in which all countries in the end must converge to Western institutional models.

Furthermore, where in the world are there “universal values” and “ultimate models” that are applicable everywhere? Some people underestimated the superiority, resilience, vitality and potential of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, or they did see this and know it tacitly, but because of ideological reasons, they would stubbornly refuse to admit this verbally. The West’s arguments about freedom, democracy and human rights are the most typical stereotyped expression, they have talked about this stuff for two hundred years, and are still talking about it, they still have these concepts and these excuses, they are unable to talk about some new things, they just rely on that stuff that has been repeated for two hundred years to monopolize the international discourse power.

What merits vigilance is that, under the influence of Western hostile discourse and mistaken thinking trends, deviations have also emerged in the understanding of some people domestically, they blindly turn with the wind, and consciously or unconsciously criticize events occurring in our country with Western ideology and institutional models and standards. The huge achievements of reform and opening up, the successes gained in responding to major natural disasters, etc., are clearly successes obtained by our Party leading the people in marching the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, they have clearly manifested the superiority of China’s institutions, but it is said that these are the fulfilment of “universal values”, that they are “universal” and not “particular”; it is believed to be normal that the same social problems and social phenomena, such as incidents of mass resistance, etc., occur in Western countries, and even that they are reflections of freedom, democracy and human rights, but if they occur in China, it is said that they are created by “institutional abuses”, they are the manifestation of a so-called “social crisis”, some people even impute the smog to the system; some people cannot see the fact that in the present world, “China’s landscape is beyond compare” in the present world, but they are anxious about China’s prospects, and believe that China will only have a way out if it implements Western “constitutional democracy”. How deluded and ignorant this is!

Whether or not a shoe fits, one only knows when putting it on. On whether or not China’s development path is correct, only the Chinese people themselves have the most right to speak. With China’s population of 1.3 billion and 56 ethnicities, and its territory of 9.6 million square kilometres, whose model can be followed? The problem is that since reform and opening up, we have done remarkably well and been very successful in practice, but we have not been sufficiently forceful in summarizing research, propagation and elucidation, what is said is not as good as what has been done. What is truly a influential, cohesive force among the broad masses is the elucidation of patriotism and the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the nation, but this is insufficient. We must persist in and develop Socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must build a discourse system that has Chinese characteristics, Chinese styles and Chinese airs, which is strongly influential, persuasive and cohesive, strive to forge new concepts, new categories and new expressions that circulate in China and abroad, use them to elucidate China’s basic national conditions, value concepts, development path, and domestic and foreign policies, shape a “mass discussion” on the theoretical system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, shape a “Chinese discussion” on Socialist ideology, and thereby consolidate a common ideological basis of the united struggle of the Party and the people, and gain the power of initiative in the ideological struggle.





Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group: Names and Documents

Following the establishment of the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization, the independent website circulated a name list of the group’s members and the institutions they represent. In total, the group reportedly has 22 members. The first three of these had been announced by Xinhua: the Group is chaired by Xi Jinping, with Premier Li Keqiang and Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan as vice-chairs. These are joined by 8 other Politburo members and senior leaders: Ma Kai (Vice-Premier), Wang Huning (Central Policy Research Office Director), Liu Qibao (Central Propaganda Committee Director), Fan Changlong (Central Military Commission, Vice-Director), Meng Jianzhu (Central Political-Legal Committee Secretary), Li Zhanshu (Central Committee General Office Director), Yang Jing (Central Secretariat, Secretary) and Zhou Xiaochuan (Vice-Chair of the CPPCC and Governor of the People’s Bank of China). With the exception of Yang Jing, all of these are also members of the new Central Leading Group of the Comprehensive Deepening of Reform. Furthermore, the group contains 11 ministarial-level officials, representing the State bureaucracies involved with informatization and cybersecurity. They include Lu Wei (SCIO Vice-Director and SIIO Director) who will also be in charge of the Leading Group’s Office, Guo Shengkun (Minister of Public Security), Fang Fenghui (Chief of the General Staff), Wang Yi (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Xu Shaoshi (NDRC, Director), Yuan Guiren (Minister of Education), Wang Zhigang (Ministry of Science and Technology, Party Secretary), Lou Jiwei (Minister of Finance), Miao Wei (Minister of Industry and Information Technology), Cai Wu (Minister of Culture) and Cai Fuchao (State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television,Director).

This new leading group largely merges the membership of the previous two leading bodies for online governance, the State Informatization Leading Group (SILG) and the State Network and Information Security Coordination Small Group (SNISCSG). One interesting addition is the governor of the central bank, who had hitherto not been involved in cybergovernance matters. It passed a work plan for 2014 at its first meeting, was well as internal rules for its functioning. None of these documents has been made public so far, but Guancha indicates that broad policy pronouncements can be expected in the wake of the plenary meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Political Consultative Conference, which ended today and yesterday respectively.

Central Leading Group for Internet Security and Informatization Established

On Thursday, the establishment of a new Central Committee leading group for Internet and information technology matters, the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization was announced. The group is chaired by Xi Jinping, with Premier Li Keqiang and the ex-head of the Central Propaganda Department, Liu Yunshan as vice directors.

According to a Xinhua analysis, this move reflects the Centre’s determination at the highest levels of Chinese politics do deepen reform and strengthen top-level design, as well as to protect national security, safeguard national interests and promote the development of information technology. 20 years after the arrival of the Internet in China, there are now more than 600 million users, more than 80% of which use mobile technology; furthermore, there are 18.44 million domestic domain names and nearly 4 million websites, three of which are among the ten largest Internet sites in the world. 300 million netizens shop online, and the total scale of e-commerce exceeds 10 trillion Yuan. Conversely, in Xinhua’s view, this scale does not translate in strength. There is a lack of indigenous information, a great urban-rural digital divide and low levels of broadband connectivity. Furthermore, it claims that China is the main victim of online attacks, with Trojans and botnets controlling nearly 900.000 host IPs, and regular infringement of personal privacy and citizens’ lawful rights and interests. In terms of governance, Xinhua argues that for historical reasons, administrative management power over the Internet has been fragmented, a problem earmarked for resolution at last year’s 3rd Plenum. Furthermore, other measures have been taken to expand control over online security and informatization, including measures to broaden domestic demand.

In Xinhua’s view, various countries have taken initiatives to strengthen Internet security and top-level design. It indicates that more than 40 countries have published cybersecurity strategies, while the United States has published more than 40 documents concerning cybersecurity and set up a cybersecurity office within the White House. Germany and France are seen to discuss the establishment of an independent European Internet in order to avoid U.S. interference and protect data security, while a new data protection bill lies in front of EU lawmakers. Japan and India have also published cybersecurity strategies in 2013. It follows that the establishment of a national cybersecurity structure is a necessary move by the Chinese leadership.

From Xi Jinping’s speech (excerpts translated hereunder), it seems that this new leading group will have comprehensive powers over the entire online sector, including economic, political, cultural, social and military matters, and it can be expected that it will start formulating strategies and policy objectives relatively soon. Xinhua expects particular moves to be made in formulating development plans for information and network technology research, development and industrialization, structures combining military and civil structures, even stronger online information content management rules, regulations to protect core information infrastructure, etc. There will also be increasing support for professional training programmes.

According to an article published in the Overseas Edition of the People’s Daily, Internet governance is taking a clear turn for the better. While in the past, online rumours and online crime had proliferated, the recent crackdown on Internet and social media, the judicial interpretation on online content, and the recent plans for cyberspace reform are creating a new, sophisticated governance structure with a range of tools to control cyberspace. Furthermore, it claims that Internet security has become inseparable from national security, particularly mentioning the PRISM programme as one of the reasons for China’s concerns.

The general tone of the press releases mirrors earlier evolutions in fields including innovation and culture, where China is moving from a position that it defines from “large” to “strong”. In international terms, this means that it will most likely try to weigh more heavily on international Internet governance and the development of bilateral and multilateral protocols for particular areas, such as data protection. It may aim to enhance its control of the Internet infrastructure, including the construction of more root servers. Conversely, it may look to attenuate its reliance on foreign hardware and software suppliers, and substitute them with home grown products.

Xinhua also published some excerpts from Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony:

In his speech, Xi Jinping pointed out that in the present world, in which the information technology revolution changes every day, which profoundly influences developments in international political, economic, cultural, social, military and other areas. Informatization and economic globalization mutually stimulate each other, the Internet has already penetrated into every aspect of social life, and profoundly changed the people’s ways of production and life. Our country is in the middle of this great wave, and the influence it experiences grows ever deeper. Our country’s Internet and informatization work has seen remarkable development achievements, the network has marched into millions of households, it is the global number one in terms of netizen numbers, our country has become a large cyber country. At the same time, we must also consider that we are considerably backward in the area of indigenous innovation, there are relatively clear discrepancies between regions, and between urban and rural areas, and especially the difference with international advanced levels of per capita broadband is relatively large, domestic Internet development bottlenecks remain relatively prominent.

Xi Jinping stressed that cybersecurity and informatization can affect the whole situation in many areas of one country with one slight move, we must clearly understand the circumstances and tasks that we face, fully understand the importance and urgency of doing work well, plan matters according to trends, move in response to trends, and act in line with trends. Cybersecurity and informatization are two wings of one bird, two wheels of one cart, we must uniformly plan, uniformly deploy, uniformly move forward, and uniformly implement matters. To do cybersecurity and informatization work well, we must deal well with the relationship between security and development, ensure coordination and consistency, move forward across the board, protect development with security, stimulate security with development, strive to build a long trend of peace and order.

Xi Jinping pointed out that doing public opinion work well is a long-term task, we must innovate and improve online propaganda, use the laws of network dissemination, carry the main melody forward, arouse positive energy, forcefully foster and practice the Socialist core value system, grasp the timing, degree and effect of online public opinion guidance, and ensure that cyberspace becomes clean and crisp.

Xi Jinping stressed that network information circulates across national borders, information flows guide technology flows, finance flows and talent flows, information resources become more important production factors and social assets every day, the amount of information control has become an important symbol for national soft power and competitiveness. The extent of information technology and industry development decide the level of informatization development, we must strengthen indigenous innovation of core technologies and the construction of infrastructure, increase capacity for information collection, processing, dissemination, use and security, and extend them to the people’s livelihoods even better.

Xi Jinping pointed out that without cybersecurity, there is no national security, and without informatization, there is no modernization. To build a strong cyber country, we must have our own technology and have technology that is up to scratch; we must have rich and complete information services, and a flourishing and developing online culture; we must have a good information infrastructure, and shape a powerful and solid information economy; we must have high-quality cybersecurity and informatization talent teams; we must vigorously launch bilateral and multilateral international cooperation and exchange concerning the Internet. The strategic deployment of building a strong cyber country must be moved forward in step with the “Two Centuries” struggle objective, and incessantly progress in the direction of the objectives of the fundamental dissemination of network infrastructure, a clear strengthening of indigenous innovation capacity, the comprehensive development of the information economy, and powerful cybersecurity protection.

Xi Jinping stressed that we must formulate complete information technology and network technology research and development plans, and spend great efforts to resolve the problem of transforming the fruits of scientific research. We must roll out policies to support enterprise development, let them become new pillars for technological innovation, and become the mainstays of information industry development. We must grasp the formulation of legislative plans, perfect laws and regulations on Internet information content management and crucial information infrastructure, etc., govern cyberspace according to the law, and safeguard citizens’ lawful rights and interests.

Xi Jinping stressed that to build a strong cyber country, we must concentrate talent resources, and build a line of formidable teams that are strong politically, excellent professionally, and have a good work style. “A thousand troops are easy to raise, one general is hard to find”, we must foster and train word-class scientists, pioneering network technology talents, brilliant engineers, and high-level innovation teams.

Xi Jinping stressed that the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization must play a concentrated and uniform leadership role, comprehensively coordinate major issues in all areas of cybersecurity and informatization, formulate and implement national cybersecurity and informatization development strategies, macro-level plans and major policies, and incessantly strengthen capacity for security protection.

Minister of Culture: Deepen cultural structural reform (again)

This article by Minister of Culture Cai Wu was published in Seeking Truth on 16 January. In this article, Cai Wu rehashes a number of standard measures for cultural structural reform that have been touted for years, with varying degrees of success. In general, they can be reduced to one central observation: that cultural structural reform is greatly concerned with the forms and trappings of a successful cultural industry, and not with the essence: the creation of cultural goods and services that actually meet with market success. In this article, as in many policy documents in the past, much attention is given to the creation of particular financial products, trading platforms, cultural infrastructure, administrative streamlining and the training of specialist personnel. It does not mention, however, the stifling creative environment in which Chinese artists, writers and filmmakers live. Also, this article returns to the theme of national cultural soft power, by which the cultural administration hopes to enhance China’s image abroad. It suffices here to say that, however many efforts are made to foster China’s “discourse power”, the national image will continue to suffer from matters ranging from the recent Xu Zhiyong case to pollution and its stance in the East and South China Seas. The important bit in the article, as always, are the first few paragraphs, which frame the proposed measures in terms of the political line set at the recent 3rd Plenum and the follow-up meetings. In other words, it is the political signalling (biaotai ) that counts here, not the substance. Continue reading

Strive to Foster and Practice the Socialist Core Value View

This revised version of a speech given on 4 January 2014 was published in Seeking Truth on 16 January 2014.

Liu Yunshan

Not long ago, the CCP Central Committee Secretariat issued the “Opinions concerning Fostering and Practicing the Socialist Core Value View” (hereafter simply named “Opinions), this is an important measure of our Party to move the construction of the Socialist value system forward. We must earnestly implement the spirit of the series of speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping, realistically grasp the implementation of the “Opinions”, strive to build a common spiritual garden for the Chinese people, and promote the formation of strong forces that exert themselves for progress, worship virtue and seek the good.

I, Grasping the relationship between the core value view and the core value system well. Continue reading

New Paper: The Privilege of Speech and New Media

Even though Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution theoretically guarantees the freedom of speech and of the press, it is a well-known fact that in reality, speech in China can be very costly indeed. In the massive body of laws and regulations promulgated in the area of culture after 1979, there are ample provisions imposing severe punishment for many speech or press-related activities, while few provisions protect expression against State. The majority of rules governing expression only permit specific actors to engage in specific activities within a specific scope, on a conditional basis. In other words, Chinese communications law aims to harness particular forms of speech in order to pursue specific objectives, and delegitimize other forms. Speech, therefore, is not a right but a privilege; it is not an entitlement granted on the basis of equality before the law and pluralist philosophy, but a power granted on the basis of particularity and monism. Until recently, this structure was buttressed a regulatory model that fragmented communication flows in an environment with a relatively small and manageable number of players. The advent of the Internet has upset this pattern. Now, the Party is confronted with the fact that hundreds of millions of individual citizens have gained easy access to tools of communication that allow them to publish information and organize in ways that had been nearly impossible earlier. This has fuelled a wave of new legislation, regulation and institution-building at different levels and across different sectors, aimed at imposing new means of control, against the background of continued political imperatives of stability and development, in order to preserve the privileged speech model.

This paper surveys and conceptualises these legal evolutions in the light of evolving political, social and technological contexts. First, it provides a brief outline of Chinese media regulation as it had been constructed in the Nineties, and develops the concept of privileged speech. Second, it maps and analyses the different initiatives that have been taken by the Party leadership with regards to Internet communication, against the background of technological, commercial and social evolutions that changed the political imperatives that form the context for Party leadership. Third, it outlines how recent evolutions in the pattern of communications regulations are connected with broader questions of political reform in China.

The full paper can be downloaded on SSRN.

Supplementary Notice concerning Further Perfecting the Management of Online Dramas, Microfilms and Other Such Online Audiovisual Programmes

This is a translation of the press release on this notice published on the SAPPRFT website. In good SAPPRFT tradition, the original document has not been made public. 

Recently, in response to the problems of topic selection, programme content, production quality and other aspects of a number of online dramas, microfilms and other such online television programmes, the State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television has issued the “Supplementary Notice concerning Further Perfecting the Management of Online Dramas, Microfilms and Other Such Online Audiovisual Programmes”, which aims to further perfect management, create a civilized and healthy online environment, and prevent online audiovisual programmes with vulgar content and a low style, which play up violence and sex to have a harmful influence on society.

The “Supplementary Notice” stresses that Internet audiovisual programme service work units must carry out their responsibilities as operating subjects well, strictly keep the broadcast gate, and produce and broadcast online dramas, microfilms and other such online audiovisual programmes that are suited for online dissemination, reflect the spirit of the times, carry forward the true, the good and the beautiful, that the people love to see and hear. Bodies engaging in the production of online dramas, microfilms and other such audiovisual programmes shall obtain a “Radio and Television Programme Production Permit” issued by the administrative radio, film and television departments according to the law. Internet audiovisual programme service work units may not broadcast online dramas, microfilms and other such online audiovisual programmes produced by bodies that have not obtained a “Radio and Television Programme Production Permit”. Where online dramas, microfilms and other such online audiovisual programmes are produced and uploaded by individuals, the Internet audiovisual programme service work unit that transmits this programme is to bear the responsibility of the producing body. Internet audiovisual programme service work units can only transmit online dramas, microfilms and other such online audiovisual programmes uploaded by individuals after verifying their real identity information and where they conform to content management regulations, they may not transmit this sort of programmes uploaded by users not using their real names.

The “Supplementary Notice” requires that all localities’ administrative press, publications, radio, film and television departments strengthen management over radio and television production and business bodies, launch focused training for main creative personnel producing online dramas, microfilms and other such online audiovisual programmes, strengthen management over online drama and microfilm theme selection, and guarantee that the selected topics are positive, healthy and upward. At the same time, they are to adopt methods including organizing creative fora, launching excellent programme competitions, sector self-discipline and artistic criticism to guide creative personnel to persist consciously in the correct orientation.

The “Supplementary Notice” provides that before online dramas, microfilms and other such audiovisual programmes are broadcast online, programme information filing shall be completed; where, after online broadcast, the masses report or the press, publications, radio, film and television department discovers that programme content does not conform to relevant State regulations, it must be immediately taken offline. Where radio and television programme production business bodies produce online dramas, microfilms and other such online audiovisual products, and the product content violates relevant radio and television regulations, the controlling department imposes punishment according to the “Radio and Television Management Regulations”, the “Radio and Television Programme Production Management Regulations” and other such relevant regulations.

In July 2012, the then SARFT and the State Internet Information Office jointly issued the “Notice concerning Further Strengthening Management over Online Dramas, Microfilms and Other Such Online Audiovisual Programmes”. In response to new issues that emerged in practice, the State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Televisions researched and formulated the “Supplementary Notice”.



Latest Updates

Some Opinions concerning Forcefully Moving Informatization Development Forward and Realistically Guaranteeing Information Security (State Council, 2012)

Self-Discipline Convention for Internet Search Engine Services (ISC, 2012)

Ministry of Information Industry Notification concerning the Issuance of the “Detailed Rules on Internet Site Management Work” (MII, 2005)

Self-Discipline Norms for Internet Search Engine Service Companies on Resisting Obscenity, Sex and Other Such Unlawful and Harmful Information (ISC, 2004)

Self-Discipline Norms for Internet Sites Prohibiting the Dissemination of Obscenity, Sex and Other Such Harmful Information (ISC, 2004)

Party Centre publishes new promotion and appointment criteria for senior officials.

On 15 January, the People’s Daily published a revised version of the “Work Regulations for the Promotion and Appointment of Leading and Party Government Cadres”, dating from 2002. This document provides the specific norms required for appointment to senior positions in the government and the CCP. A translation is underway and will be posted on this website in due course. According to an explanatory article, also in the People’s Daily, there are ten major updates from the previous version:

First, the document now requires that leading cadres must “put virtue first” if they wish to rise in rank. According to the People’s Daily, this stems from drive developing in recent years to ensure that cadres combine ability with integrity. It refers to a document that the Central Organization Department published in 2011, the “Opinions concerning Strengthening Assessment of Cadres’ Virtue” (a full background website on this topic is available via the Party magazine Seeking Truth, in Chinese). The PD also quotes Tsinghua University professor Cheng Wenhao, who heads a research centre on clean government, who states that public officials can only serve society and benefit the people if they have sufficient moral integrity, and that lack of integrity would bring ruin to society.

Second, changes will be made to the cadre evaluation structures. These will come to include indicators connected to people’s livelihoods, including employment, income, technological innovation, education, healthcare and social security, on top of factors that had been stressed before, such as social harmony, economic development, environmental preservation, etc. According to professor Zhu Lijia of the National School of Administration, cited by the PD, this would change the trend to “only look at GDP”, and implement the policies set out at the third plenum.

Third, detailed provisions are made limiting the range of candidates who are eligible for assessment. Persons who are not subject to assessment, cannot be promoted or appointed to higher positions. Specifically, this affects cadres under the following circumstances (1) not being generally recognized by the masses, (2) not being evaluated well enough in annual examinations, (3) “running around for titles” or canvassing votes,  (4) having a spouse migrating abroad or, if not having a spouse, having children migrating abroad, (5) having been subject to administrative or disciplinary punishment and (6) other reasons.

Fourth, there will be additional procedures for candidates undergoing assessment. More specifically, Party organization bodies must obtain information from discipline supervision bodies concerning candidates’ corruption situation. Also, auditing departments must provide input on candidates for positions with economic responsibilities.

Fifth, a clause is added to the list of criteria for promotion eligibility, which requires that candidates conform to the qualifications of relevant laws and regulations. According to Cheng Wenhao, this allows for more specific rules for appointments in specific departments or regions where this is necessary.

Sixth, the scope for open appointments and competitive selections is defined. According to the People’s Daily, a number of regions had started to use these methods to avoid domination by “number one leaders” (yibashou 一把手) and backroom politics. The 2002 rules only stated that open appointments were to be carried out facing society, and competitive elections were internal to specific work units or systems. The new regulations provide further details, by allowing for open appointments in cases where a particular locality or department cannot find suitable candidates internally and competitive selections might be conducted in circumstances where many candidates vie for the same position, and consensus cannot easily be found. Furthermore, the new rules stipulate that  open appointments and competitive selections must survey and measure the process according to scientific standards, give prominence to the characteristics of the position, give prominence to prominent achievement, and stress the combination of ability and personal qualities, so that persons are not merely selected on the basis of grades and marks. Lastly, open appointments for county-level or lower officials should not be carried out across provinces. According to Cheng Wenhao, this last point might originate from the fact that this would bring organizational difficulties, as well as from the fact that it might be better for grass roots officials to have local experience.

Seventh, the conditions for removing cadres from their position are updated. On the one hand, three new conditions are implemented: (1) being subject to an investigation for liability, (2) resignation or transfer to a different position; or leaving a position for study for more than a year, if that has not been arranged organizationally. One condition has been deleted, not passing the annual evaluation or the cadre assessment, being found unqualified by more than one third of votes in a democratic survey, and being found unqualified by the organizational department. The reason for the latter, according to a vice-director of a county organization department in Jiangsu cited by the PD, is that these requirements were too easy to manipulate. Claiming that no completely scientific and reasonable method to evaluate cadres has been developed anywhere in the world, he stated that there were problems with the extent to which democratic surveys were truthful and scientific in nature, with the fact that it was difficult to evaluate different kinds of officials in different places, which meant that the previous rules did not result in the effects hoped for.

Eighth, with regards to term limits, the new rules provide that officials who have held the same position for two terms of office, can no longer be recommended or nominated for the same position. Furthermore,  the new rules stipulate that young cadres with few diverse experiences, or who lack experience in working at the grass roots, should be sent to work at the grass roots, poor and remote regions or complex and environments.

Ninth, cadres who “take the blame and resign” (yinjiucizhi 引咎辞职) cannot hold positions for a year, and may not hold a positions that are higher than their previous position for two years. That period can be lengthened for those also subject to Party discipline punishment, in view of the circumstances. Furthermore, organizational punishment has become an explicit ground for demotion.

Tenth, with regard to cases of neglect of supervisory duty or malpractices in the appointment process where grave consequences result, the new rules explicitly impose responsibility on the main leading members of the Party Committee involved, relevant leading persons, relevant leading members the organization department and the discipline supervision committee involved, as well as other responsible persons.

These rules mark another step in the continuing efforts of the leadership to bring lower-level officials into line and curb incentives for corruption. Some of the new initiatives are not new, the push towards stronger moral requirements on senior officials had been initiated under the previous leadership. However, what merits attention is that these rules send another strong signal that Xi’s assertion of strict discipline, as well as his repeated taking aim at abuses and malpractices are no mere rhetoric. He is, literally, rewriting the rules.

Update: another take by the always excellent Chris Buckley can be found here.

Work Regulations for Leading Party and Government Cadre Promotions and Appointments

Chapter I: General provisions

Article 1: In order to earnestly implement the Party’s cadre line, principles and policies, implement the requirement to strictly govern the Party and strictly manage cadres, establish scientific and standard promotion and appointment systems for leading cadres in Party and government, form promotion and appointment mechanisms that are effective and potent, convenient and easy to use, and benefit excellent talents to come to the fore, move forward cadre team reform, making them younger, more knowledgeable and specialized, construct a line of high-quality Party and government leading cadre teams that hold high the magnificent banner of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, take Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important “Three Represents” thought and the scientific development view as guidance, and have firm convictions, serve the people, are diligent and pragmatic in government affairs, who dare to take charge, and are honest and clean, guarantee the complete implementation of the Party’s mass line and the smooth development of the undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, on the basis of the “Constitution of the Chinese Communist Party” and relevant laws and regulations, these Regulations are formulated. Continue reading

Justice and fairness with Chinese characteristics: Seeking Truth on the rule of law

Another New Year, another article calling for the implementation of the Constitution and the law in China. But in contrast with last year, this article isn’t published in Southern Weekend, Yanhuang Chunqiu or other outlets known for their political outspokenness, but in the Party’s chief theoretical journal, Seeking Truth. It is written by Chen Jiping, the Party Secretary and Vice-Chairman of the Law Society of China, one of the many front organisations under the leadership of the Party that are used to connect different areas of society, including the professions, to the policymaking and implementation process. Chen summarises a number of speeches that Xi Jinping has made since his accession in late 2012 in the field of law, and identifies four central focus form for further legal reform towards a “rule of law China” (法治中国).

First, Chen argues that, in order to foster rule of law in China, a belief in the rule of law must be fostered among the people. In other words, Chinese citizens must identify with and internalise the notion of the rule of law. This, in turn, must be based on practicing the rule of law by judicial and other law enforcement bodies. Second, Chen discusses the problems in law enforcement. He takes aim at favouritism and corruption that takes place within law enforcement bodies, and stresses that laws must be strictly enforced, particularly in the administrative area. Third, Chen proposes a larger role for the people in legal processes, both in legislation and enforcement. He links judicial reform with the “Fengxiao experience” and the current Mass Line campaign, stressing that increased popular participation and a stronger focus on popular satisfaction are necessary. Lastly, Chen calls upon leading cadres at all levels to support the rule of law, vituperating against privilege and corruption.

These arguments sound admirable, but contain many points that have been repeatedly made by observers inside and outside of China in the past. In its ideological perfectionism and its tradition of avoiding public disagreements about policy, Chinese policy programmes often read like the Santa Claus list of a materialist five-year old: it wants it all. It does not choose or prioritiseneither does it clearly outline trade-offs that are inevitable in political and legal decision making. Everyone must be satisfied, therefore everything must be done. There are, however, intractable tensions between ideas and concepts that are central to the notion of the rule of law on the one hand and the current structuring of China’s political structure on the other. These tensions, if anything, are exacerbated under Xi’s new approach exacerbate.

It is, of course, quite difficult to explain exactly what the rule of law is, and it is often best recognised in its absence. But it is possible to point at a number of ideas which could conceivably constitute the concept, and a fundamental assumption should be that, in principle, the law on the books should be applied. Naturally, some discretion and leeway is necessary in view of specific facts in particular cases, and there are always questions about interpretation of particular provisions, but even so, it remains possible to draw some sort of boundary between decisions or outcomes that can be justifiably seen as an acceptable interpretation of the law, and instances of clear abuse. To a certain degree, this means that the rule of law implies a reduction of political control and capacity to shape events, as potential outcomes are constrained by mandatory procedures. In Party ideology, however, law is justified through its outcomes: laws and their application must make people happy, support modernisation and development policy, and ensure that no violation of law occurs. Equally, it must be flexible enough for creative use in maintaining continued Party rule. It seems that there is a paradox, therefore, between a process which arrives at (politically) indeterminate outcomes through predetermined procedure, and a political tradition in which procedures are often applied ex post, to justify a political conclusion that has already been reached. Also, law can impose obligations, such as the obligation to resign when ministerial responsibility requires so. In a system where personnel appointments are, however, more the result of continuous jostling and negotiations, and where you lose if you’re not winning, such obligations would mean an utter reversal of practice and custom.

A second pillar of the rule of law is the publicity of legal norms. It is perhaps needless to say that for people to obey the law, or base their actions on it, they must know what the law is. This question, which norms are applicable to a particular situation, is governed by what HLA Hart called rules of recognition. These rules identify what counts as law within a given system, and can, in Hart’s view, be discovered through the practice of legal officials. When we turn to the Chinese legal structure, we see that there is no lack of written rules of recognition, starting with the statement in the Constitution that it is the highest norm for behaviour. In reality, however, it is clear that outcomes are governed as much, if perhaps not more, by unwritten rules, the qian guize 潜规则. These tacit codes are sometimes connected to Party discipline (and the tension between Party discipline and State law deserves a monograph of itself), but equally often to what insiders in the system can get away with before unpleasant things happen to them. It sounds almost Daoist: the rule that says it’s the rule, is not the rule.

A last aspect of the rule of law is the relationship that law has with society, and how the presence and enforcement of certain rules can fulfil social objectives. Certainly, a large part of the function of law is that it should provide a deterrent against undesired behaviour. But in the Chinese conception, this deterrent does not remain limited to individual cases. Rather, good law results in the dissolution of social contradictions at the collective level. The epistemological basis for this seems to be the hypothesis of the optimal answer: for every problem, a response can be found that is not only acceptable for everyone, but generates outcomes in which all sides end up better off. This approach has deleterious consequences for the use of law, as it does not recognise that there may be cases in which two legitimate values conflict and a zero-sum decision imposes itself. In other words, where law often legitimises social conflict by providing a procedural channel for it to be addressed in a measured manner, the Chinese case seems to delegitimise these tensions, by assuming that the existence of tensions themselves means something is wrong in the state of Denmark.

It is, perhaps, more appropriate at the moment to consider Chinese law as a body of standing orders. They outline standard accepted practices for specific activities, which are to be followed until someone who has the political standing to do so, decides otherwise. Certainly, Xi has amassed considerable authority, and seems to still focus on enhancing discipline. It is, perhaps, in this sense that this article is best understood: the power that must, according to Xi, be locked up in a body of rules is the power of subaltern officials to disobey, not his own. Plus ça change…

Studying Comrade Xi Jinping’s Important Elucidations on the Rule of Law

Since the 18th Party Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has stood on the strategic heights of the future fate of the Party and the country, put forward the struggle objective of building a rule of law China, and has published a series of important elucidations on building the rule of law, which further clarified the direction of and the path for accelerating the building of a Socialist rule of law country. The content of the speeches was profound, pragmatic and innovative, and contained a large amount of sincere feelings of putting people first and linking hearts up with the people, it provided strong theoretical guidance for moving the construction of a rule of law China forward, and symbolized the entry of the construction of a Socialist rule of law country into a new historical stage.

I, Let rule of law become a sort of belief for the whole people

In January 2013, Comrade Xi Jinping gave important instructions on political-legal work under new circumstances, and put forward the magnificent objective of building a rule of law China for the first time. The formation of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics generally resolved the question of having laws to rely on, but rule of law construction remained a matter of arduous work along a long path. Laws cannot just be articles on paper, but they must be written into the hearts of citizens, ensuring that rule of law becomes a sort of belief for the whole people. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that we must establish the authority of the law among the broad cadres and masses, ensure that the people fully believed in the law and consciously used the law, shape a belief in the law in the entire society, carry forward a rule of law spirit, foster a rule of law culture, and shape a good atmosphere of studying the law, respecting the law, abiding by the law and using the law in all of society. This has had a major and profound significance for the acceleration of building a Socialist rule of law country.

Belief in the rule of law leads the construction of a rule of law China. Belief in the rule of law means identifying with the law, trusting in the law, abiding by and defending the law from the heart. Whenever rule of law becomes a sort of belief, the people will consciously and voluntarily abide by the law with perseverance for the long term, and make handling affairs according to the law into their life habit. Only if the law is believed in, and it becomes a form conviction, can it be internalized as a standard for people’s actions. Following the deepening of the construction of national rule of law, our legal texts have become ever more perfect, the people’s knowledge and understanding of the law have become ever more rich, but why are there still so many profound problems in legislation, law enforcement, the judiciary and observance of the law? Why does the phenomenon that laws are divorced from reality, and institutions are divorced from reality, still exist? The reason lies in the fact that a belief in the law has not been truly established. With regards to those in government, a belief in the rule of law is the basis for rule of law thinking and role of law methods. Only by believing in the rule of law from the heart, will it be possible to shape rule of law thoughts, and will it be possible to actively, consciously and adeptly use rule of law methods. Where the common citizen is concerned, the basis for the rule of law lies in the support of the people from their heart, the majesty of the rule of law lies in the sincere belief of the people. Only by striving to cast the rule of law spirit and the concept of the rule of law into people’s minds, and form habits where affairs are handled according to the law, the law is sought when problems occur, the law is used to resolve problems, and the law is relied on to dissolve contradictions, can the rule of law release the positive energy of norms in an uninterrupted stream. Comrade Xi Jinping put the rule of law at the height of belief, and so grasped the most central issue in building a rule of law China, this gave prominence to the guiding function that belief in the rule of law has in building a role of law China, and has clear characteristics of the times as well as a major significance in realities.

Foster a rule of law belief in practicing the rule of law. Belief in the rule of law requires gradual accumulation and formulation in the concrete practice of scientific law-making, strict law enforcement, a fair judiciary and complete observance of the law. The popular masses’ belief in the rule of law cannot come out of nothing, to let the popular masses believe in the rule of law, it is first necessary to let them really feel that the law is able to play an effective role, and believe that the rule of law can bring concrete benefits to them. Comrade XI Jinping stressed that: “We must, through unwavering efforts, establish the authority of the Constitution and the law in the entire society, that the broad popular masses fully believe in the law and consciously use the law, make the broad popular masses understand that the Constitution is not only a norm for action that must be observed by the whole body of citizens, but is also a legal weapon that guarantees citizens’ rights”. This requires that legislation must truly reflect the masses’ interests and appeals; it requires that law enforcement organs and judicial organs are able to handle affairs according to the law when the populace needs the protection of their lawful rights and interests, and that fairness is upheld for them. Thus, people are made to believe that as long as something is a reasonable and lawful appeal, a reasonable and lawful result can be obtained through legal procedure. When people feel fairness and justice in one law enforcement or judicial procedure after another, and obtain real assistance, the belief in the rule of law will naturally be built in people’s hearts and in the entire society. Only when the rule of law becomes a universal belief in the entire society, can a rule of law country be realized.

II, Completely move the implementation of the law forward with strict law enforcement as focus point

Comrade Xi Jinping gave high regard to the question of law enforcement, stressing that “the vitality of the law lies in its implementation”, he clearly pointed out the position and role of legislative organs, administrative organs, judicial organs and the broad citizens in the implementation of the law, required that administrative organs take the lead in strictly enforcing the law, raising the capacity of leading bodies and leading cadres at all levels to use rule of law thinking and rule of law methods, strengthening supervision over law enforcement activities, and persisting in eradicating all illegal interference with law enforcement activities.

The implementation of law has become the main contradiction in building a rule of law China. To implement the basic plan of governing the country according to the law and accelerating the construction of a Socialist rule of law country, the complete and effective implementation of the Constitution and the law must be guaranteed. Safeguarding the authority of the Constitution and the law means safeguarding the authority of the Party and the common will of the people. Guaranteeing the implementation of the Constitution and the law means the guaranteeing the realization of the people’s fundamental interests. The great majority of the main problems that our country’s rule of law construction faces exist in the area of legal implementation, such as the fact that supervisory organs and concrete institutions guaranteeing the implementation of the Constitution and the law are not complete; law enforcement and judicial problems that relate to the personal interests of the popular masses are still relatively prominent; a number of public servants abuse their power, neglect their duty and engage in malpractice, break the law during law enforcement and even bend the law for relatives and friends, which gravely harms the authority of the State legal system; the constitutional and legal consciousness of citizens, including a number of leading cadres, remains to be further raised. In this regard, Comrade Xi Jinping requires that “we must strengthen the implementation of the Constitution and the law, safeguard the unity, dignity and authority of the Socialist legal system, shape a rule of law environment in which people do not want to break the law, cannot beak the law and do not dare to break the law, and ensure that there are laws to rely on, law enforcement must be strict, and violations of law must be prosecuted.” Through the complete implementation of the Constitution and the law, a shift from a “system of laws” to “a system of rule of law” is to be realized.

Strict law enforcement is the heaviest of heavies in the implementation of the law. In our country, more than 80 per cent of laws and regulations are enforced by administrative organs. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that: “administrative organs are the main bodies for the implementation of laws and regulations, they must take the lead in strictly enforcing the law, safeguarding the public interest, the people’s interests and social order. Law enforcers must be faithful to the law, they cannot suppress the law with power, and personally defy the law, neither can they bestow favours outside of the law or bend the law for relatives and friends. All levels’ leading organs and leading cadres must raise their ability to use legal thinking and legal methods, strive to concentrate a consensus for reform, standardize development activities, stimulate the dissolution of contradictions, and guarantee social harmony through the rule of law”. The requirements on law enforcers has risen from the pure strict enforcement of the law, to loyalty to the law and raising the ability to use legal thinking and legal methods, this grasps the crux of the problem. A number of prominent problems that currently exist in the area of law enforcement, such as coercive law enforcement, for-profit law enforcement, selective law enforcement, wilful law enforcement, etc., spring from the fact that a number of law enforces lack reverence for and loyalty to the law and the rule of law in their hearts. Only if loyalty to the law is established, can the problem of legal violations in law enforcement be thoroughly resolved from the ideological source. At the same time, it is also necessary to strengthen supervision over law enforcement activities, determinedly eliminate illegal interference in law enforcement activities, determinedly prevent and overcome local protectionism and departmental protectionism, determinedly prevent and overcome law enforcement work being driven by interests, determinedly punish corrupt phenomena, and ensure that power comes with responsibility, the use of power us supervised, and violations of the law must be prosecuted.

III, Pay even more attention to the core position of the people in building the rule of law

The popular masses are the core of building a rule of law China, the satisfaction of the popular masses is the final norm to measure the building of a rule of law China. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that the people’s yearning for beautiful lives, is our struggle objectives; we must listen to the calls of the people at all times, respond to the people’s expectations, guarantee the people’s rights of equal participation and equal development, and safeguard social justice and fairness; we must, with the interests of the broadest people in mind, persist in a judiciary for the people. These important elucidations reflect the governance concept of putting people first, and ensure that the building of a rule of law China has a broad and profound popular basis.

Realizing, safeguarding and developing the fundamental interests of the broadest people are the objectives of rule of law building. Persisting in and respecting the core position of the people is first and foremost reflected in realistically guaranteeing the people’s constitutional and legal rights. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that “only by guaranteeing that the people are all equal in the face of the law, respecting and guaranteeing human rights, and guaranteeing the rights and liberties that the people enjoy according to the law, can the Constitution deeply enter into people’s hearts and march into the popular masses, and can the implementation of the Constitution truly become a conscious act of the whole body of the people”. We must raise the scientific and democratic levels of legislation, perfect legislative work mechanisms and procedures, broaden orderly participation by the masses, fully listen to opines from all sides, ensure that the law correctly reflects the demands of economic and social development, and coordinate relationships of interests even better. We must persist in a judiciary for the sake of the people, improving judicial work styles, serve through enthusiasm, and realistically resolve the problem that it is difficult for the common people to file lawsuits. This requires that we establish a work orientation that puts the people central, put the people in the highest position in our hearts from beginning to end, implement the Party’s mass line in every segment of legislation, law enforcement and judicial work, and persist in linking up with the masses, sticking close to the masses, relying on the masses and serving the masses.

Make relying on popular participation into the basic method for building the rule of law. The masses are most concerned about their personal interests, they are most clear about the reasons why contradictions and disputes come into being, and the crux of problems that exist, and they have the most wisdom to resolve them. Comrade Xi Jinping requires that we must persist in and develop the “Fengqiao Experience”, be good at using rule of law thinking and rule of law methods to resolve contradictions and problems that affect the masses’ personal interests. We must innovate work methods, integrate the Mass Line and rule of law thinking, firmly rely on grass-roots organizations and the broad masses to prevent and dissolve social contradictions, and let the masses themselves team up to resolve their own problems through rule of law methods. Persist in scientific policymaking and democratic policymaking, make the process of policy formulation into a process that listens to the popular will, removes the people’s worries, and wins the support of the masses. We must fully rely on the popular masses, consciously accept supervision by the popular masses, realize the integration of specialized organs and mass participation, and persist in marching the Mass line. We must expand judicial openness strength, increase law enforcement transparency to the largest extent, guarantee parties’ and the popular masses’ right to know and right to supervise, and respond to the popular masses’ attention on and expectations about judicial fairness and openness. Perfect people’s assessor and people’s supervisor systems, and expand channels for the orderly participation of the popular masses in the judiciary. We must form effective restraint and supervision mechanisms for the use of judicial power through the endowment by institutional design and the guaranteeing of procedural rights of parties and their counsel.

Make the satisfaction of the people into the fundamental standard to test the results of the building of rule of law. Legislative, law enforcement and judicial organs must persist in making the satisfaction of the people into an objective, and incessantly raise the sense of identification and the level of trust of the popular masses. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that what is called judicial fairness means that rights that are infringed certainly will be protected and granted relief, and that law-breaking and criminal activities must absolutely be sanctioned and punished. Only if the popular masses are able to guarantee their own lawful rights and interests through judicial procedures, can the judiciary have credibility, can the popular masses trust the judiciary, can the law truly play the role in defining a persons’ status and ceasing disputes, and can the final function of judicial adjudication be realized. The people pass the final judgment on the complete value of judicial work. Comrade Xi Jinping stressed that: “We must strive to let the popular masses feel that they have received fairness and justice in every case” Implementing this judicial work objective, on one hand, requires a focus on fairness and justice in individual cases. Starting from raising the case-handling quality in every concrete case, and through dealing fairly with thousands upon thousands of cases, can complete trust of the people in judicial fairness be accumulated. Persist in preventing unjust, falsified and mistaken cases, unfair dealing in every concrete case means concrete injury to justice and fairness. On the other hand, we must focus on making fairness and justice felt, completely implement judicial openness, expand the enforcement strength of procedural law, and ensure that judicial fairness is realized in a such a manner that the popular masses can feel it. We must further raise mass work capacity, the law should not be icy cold, judicial work is also mass work. Judicial workers must closely link up with the masses, if they do not understand the language of the masses, do not understand the hardships of the masses, and are not aware of the appeals of the masses, it will be difficult to grasp correct work methods, and it will be difficult for them to play their due role. Mass work capacity is an important component part of judicial capacity, it is necessary to establish mechanisms for legislative officials and prosecutorial officials to go to the grass roots and link up with the masses, to ensure that judicial personnel incessantly raises its horizon in practicing for the sake of the people, derive strength, raise their abilities, and truly perform judicial work to the bottoms of their hearts.

The Law Society of China is a people’s organization under Party leadership, it is a bridge and node for the Party and the government to link up with the broad legal scholars and legal workers, and it bears important responsibility in letting legal research flourish, moving ruling the country according to the law forward, and building a rule of law China. The work of the Law Society equally must establish a correct mass view, realizing the protection and development of the fundamental interests of the broadest people is to become a starting point and a stopover point in all work, ensuring “three serves”: serving the bigger picture of Party and State work, serving the grass roots and the masses, and serving the broad legal scholars and legal workers. We must closely revolve around the issues that correspond to the popular masses’ interests in rule of law building, organize legal scholars and legal workers to research these deeply and put forward counter-policy advice to the Centre. We must fully give rein to the advantages of broad connections and the galaxy of talent, organize and mobilize the broad legal scholars and legal workers to vigorously participate in the work to prevent and dissolve contradictions and disputes, and participate in risk assessments for major policy decisions of the government. We must strengthen communication and contact with grass-roots common legal scholars and legal workers, listen to their aspirations, understand their opinions and demands, and grasp their implementation one by one.

IV, Leading cadres taking the initiative is crucial

Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that all levels’ leading cadres must take the lead in handing affairs according to the law, take the lead in respecting the law, and keeping reverential mind towards the Constitution and the law, and closely establish the concept that the red line cannot be touched and the legal baseline cannot be transgressed. All levels’ organization departments must make their ability to handle matters according to the law and to respect the law into important conditions for observing and distinguishing cadres. It is necessary to strengthen restraints and supervision on the use of power, to lock up power into a cage of rules, and to shape punitive institutions that don’t dare to be corrupt, preventive mechanisms that cannot be corrupt, and guarantee mechanisms that are not easily corrupted. No person has absolute power outside of the law, any person must serve the people, be responsible towards the people and consciously accept the supervision of the people when exercising power. These important elucidations stressed the crucial function of leading cadres in taking the lead in rule of law building, they have revealed the basic path to restrain and supervise power, and indicate new heights and new frontiers for our Party’s governance concepts.

Leading cadres taking the lead in respecting the law is the key to build a rule of law China. “Taking the lead” is reflected in even higher standards, even stricter requirements and even more practical work styles. All levels’ leading cadres are the concrete implementers of Party and State policies and laws, represent the image of the Party and the country, and their every word has a huge demonstrative effect on common cadres and the masses. Only if State organs and their work personnel, and especially leading cadres, take the lead in abiding by the law, and use the law to restrain their own activities, can it be possible for the law to be enforced equally, for the spirit of the rule of law to manifest itself, and can a belief in the rule of law be moulded. The thing that is most likely to have a guiding rule towards the masses, are the real actions of State organs and leading cadres. The eyes of the masses are bright as snow, when the use of power is not consistent with legal provisions, what people respect is not the law that is written on paper, but the real rules of the use of power. Regardless of however perfect legal provisions are, as long as power overrides the law in reality, the people will believe in power and not believe in the law. We must earnestly rethink and thoroughly correct places where the acts of officials and the provisions of the law are inconsistent, and strictly control power to remain on the track of the law. Only in this way can the people emulate their betters, and must they not be warned to follow a bad example.

Persist in opposing and overcoming privileged thinking and phenomena of privilege. Privilege is the ideological source and an important condition for engendered by corruption. Many leading cadres who break the law and believe that their own is related to the fact that they don’t understand the law, but in fact, what they lack isn’t knowledge about the law, but reference for the law. In their hearts, power is bigger than the law, and they didn’t think that these laws, one day, might truly be used on themselves, they mistakenly believed that as long as one has power in one’s hand, that once can decide whether or not the law is enforced. Comrade Xi Jinping stressed that anti-corruption and clean government construction must oppose thoughts and appearances of privilege. Strict punishment of corruption not only requires “hitting tigers” and “hitting flies” one by one, it is even more necessary to destroy the privileged thoughts behind corruption. Communist Party members eternally are ordinary members of the labouring people, apart from individual interests and work duties within the scope provided by laws and regulations, all Communist Party members are forbidden to seek any private interests and privileges. To prevent that a number of cadres change their public power into privilege and the abuse of power for personal gain, we must strengthen norms and restraints for the use of power, restrain power with power, restrain power with rights, and expand punishment strength for acts of privilege. At the same time as perfecting institutional construction, leaders must also firmly establish a consciousness that there are no exceptions in the face of rules deep in their heart, and not let power “avoid seniors”, before it is possible to eradicate the soil in which thoughts of privilege breed, guarantee that those in high position do not usurp power, and those with great power do not seek private gain.

(The author is the Party Secretary and Standing Vice-Director of the Law Society of China)


Establishment of New Internet Leading Group Reported

According to news reports that as yet remain to be verified, the CCP Central Committee will establish a “Small Leading Group for Informatization and Internet Information Security”. This Small Group would be chaired by Xi Jinping personally, with Li Keqiang and the ex-head of the Central Propaganda Department (CPD) Liu Yunshan as vice-directors. Lu Wei, the director of the State Internet Information Office, would be the director of the Small Group’s administrative office.

Small leading groups sit at the top of China’s administrative hierarchies. They provide close connection between the top leadership and the administrative departments that are to implement policy, and allow for coordination across bureaucratic lines. Currently, there are two small groups directly dealing with the Internet: the State Informatization Leading Group (SILG) and the State Network and Information Security Coordination Small Group (SNISCSG) The former was established in 2001, has mainly been working under the auspices of MIIT (the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology). It is chaired by the Premier, currently Li Keqiang, who is assisted by Zhang Gaoli and Ma Kai, both vice premiers and economic experts; CPD director Liu Qibao; General Fan Changlong, a vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Guo Shengkun, the Minister of Public Security. The Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Miao Wei, heads the SILG’s administrative office. The SNISCSG is more secretive. It was established in 2010 by expanding the remit of MIIT’s Information Security Coordination Department, and was headed by Li Keqiang, who was Vice-Premier at that time. Its administrative office is run by MIIT vice-minister Yang Xueshan, further staffing details have not been made public. It seems to have been involved in a 2012 campaign to “launch focus domain website and information security inspections“. Its membership is not known, but membership lists of similar groups at the local level show list deputy heads of propaganda, secrecy preservation, economy and trade, education, science and technology, public security, finance, information industry, culture, telecommunications and radio and television management departments. To further complicate matters, there is also a National Information Security Ranking and Protection Coordination Small Group, that is headed by Zhang Xinfeng, Vice-Minister of Public Security and Vice-Director of the State Internet Information Office.

If true, this move would indicate a further concentration of power in the hands of Xi Jinping after the recent announcement that he would also chair the Leading Small Group for the Comprehensive Deepening of Reform. This new Leading Small Group would have tremendous power over the control and circulation of information at all levels, from the protection of infrastructure and industrial information networks to the management of social media and microblogs. It is reported that the publication of this move caused the share prices of information security companies to rise. Currently, corresponding news reports are being censored.


Latest Updates

Notice concerning Punishing Criminal Activities Infringing Citizens’ Personal Data (Supreme People’s Court et al., 2013)

Opinions concerning Strengthening the Supervision of Internet Mapping and Geographical Information Service Websites (MII et al., 2008)

Implementation Rules for the Central Committee Secretariat and State Council Secretariat “Opinions concerning Further Strengthening Internet Management Work” (SARFT, 2005)

Provisional Internet Publishing Management Regulations (GAPP, MII, 2002)

Internet Surfing Service Business Venue Management Rules (MII et al., 2001)

Notice concerning Strengthening Management over the Use of Internet Information in Publications (APP, 2001)

Announcement concerning Strengthening Management over the Dissemination of Radio, Film and Television-Type Programmes to the Public through Information Networks (SARFT, 1999)

Filing Rules for Major Special Subject Books, Periodicals, Audiovisual Products and Electronic Publications (APP, 1997)

Rectifying words with the Sinica podcast

This week, CC&M editor Rogier Creemers was a guest on the Sinica podcast, which discusses rectifying names, or are terms often used to describe particular aspects of China justified? Many thanks to hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn for the invitation, and to David Moser for the enlightening conversation. You can download the podcast here.

Correctly Deal With Both Historical Periods Before and After Reform and Opening Up

This article was originally published by People’s Daily on 8 November 2013.

Study General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Elaboration concerning the “Two Cannot Denies”

CCP Central Committee Party History Research Department

General Secretary Xi Jinping profoundly pointed out that there are two historical periods in our Party leading the people in conducting Socialist construction, before the Revolution and after the Revolution, these are two periods that are mutually connected and have major differences, but essentially they are both the exploration in practice of the Party leading the people in conducting Socialist construction. He stressed that the historical period before reform and opening up must be correctly evaluated, the historical period after reform and opening up cannot be used to deny the historical period before reform and opening up, neither can the period before reform and opening up be used to deny the historical period after reform and opening up (hereafter, this sis simply called the “Two cannot denies”. This major elaboration by General Secretary Xi Jinping has profoundly reflected the fundamental position and clear attitude of our Party concerning these major questions. Studying General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important elaboration, has an important guiding significance in correctly understanding and grasping both historical periods before and after reform and opening up, and even the entire history of the Party, in further strengthening self-confidence about the path, self-confidence about the theory and self-confidence about the system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics through strengthening self-confidence about the Party’s history, and in resolutely continuing to push forward with the magnificent undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Continue reading

Opinions concerning Fostering and Practicing the Socialist Core Value View

The Socialist core value view is the core of the Socialist core value system, it reflects the fundamental nature and fundamental characteristics of the Socialist core value system, reflects the rich content and practical requirements of the Socialist core value system, and is a highly condensed and concentrated expression of the Socialist core value system. In order to implement the spirit of the 18th Party Congress and the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress, vigorously foster and practice the Socialist core value view, the following opinions are hereby put forward. Continue reading

Establish and Complete a Modern Cultural Market System

This article by Jiang Jianguo, the Party Secretary of the State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television was first published in Seeking Truth on 16 December 2013.

The “CCP Central Committee Decision concerning Some Major Issues in the Comprehensive Deepening of Reform” (hereafter simply named “Decision”) has made the establishment of a modern cultural market system into an important task that closely revolves around the building of the Socialist core value system and a strong Socialist culture country, and deepening cultural structural reform, it has also made major deployments.

Following the incessant perfection of the Socialist market economy, cultural resource allocation as well as the production, distribution and consumption of cultural products are increasingly inseparable from the market. Building a unified, open, competitive and orderly modern cultural market system has become an important content and decisive factor of cultural reform and development under the conditions of the Socialist market economy. Since the 16th Party Congress, the Centre has given high regard to the establishment of a modern cultural market system, and forcefully moved the linkage of cultural resources and the market forward, pluralized investment structures for the cultural industry began to be formed, the organization of modern logistics for cultural products began to take shape, markets for capital, property rights, copyright, talent, technology, information and other such cultural production factors have rapidly developed, a beginning has been made with breaking through the barriers of horizontal and vertical fragmentation, regional barriers, and the urban-rural divide in the traditional cultural market structure, and the positive role of the market in cultural resource allocation has begun to take prominence. However, in comparison with the demands of the grand development and grand flourishing of Socialist culture, the comprehensive levels of modern cultural market system construction are not yet high, the development of cultural product and factor markets is not yet perfect, cultural product logistics and service channels are not yet smooth, cultural consumption potential has not yet been fully aroused. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that: “Reform and opening up are boundless, there is only a progressive tense, no perfect tense”, “In responding to the series of contradictions and challenges that our country’s development faces at present, the crux lies in comprehensively deepening reform.” According to the 18th Party congress’ deployment that firmly move the construction of a strong Socialist culture country forward, the crux lies in comprehensively deepening cultural structural reform, breaking through the traditional system in which cultural resources are allocated along departments, administrative regional and administrative hierarchical lines, and building and strengthening a uniform, open, competitive and orderly modern cultural market system. Continue reading