CCP Central Committee Decision Concerning Present Newspaper and Periodical News and Propaganda Policies

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All provincial, municipal and autonomous region Party Committees, all large military region, provincial military region and field army Party Committees, all Central ministries and commissions, all Party groups in all State organ ministries and commissions, all headquarters of the Military Commission, all military branch Party Committees, all Party Committees in people’s organizations:

The Central Committee has decided, based on the basis of the preliminary achievements made in the two recent years of implementing the policy of adjustment, reform, rectification and improvement, to conduct further economic adjustment, and further realize political stability. This is a further implementation of the Third Plenum’s guiding ideology of seeking truth from facts and correcting “leftist” errors, and is a major policy decision in guaranteeing the smooth construction of Socialist modernization. In order to complete this formidable task, ideological and political work must be strengthened, making the entire Party, the entire Army and the people of all ethnicities in the entire country closely unite around the Party Centre, with one heart and one mind, work diligently in spite of all difficulties, and resolutely implement the Party line, principles and policies.

Periodicals, news, radio and television are important weapons for our Party’s conduct of ideological and political work. In recent years, we have implemented the policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend, and have done great amounts of work in aspects such as propagating Marxism, propagating the Party’s ideological line, political line, organizational line, liberating thoughts, bringing order out of chaos, etc., and have achieved clear results, which are great contributions to the Party’s cause. But a number of grave flaws also exist. These mainly are: there is no vigorous and active, regular and systematic propaganda of the Four Cardinal Principles that both assumes to be on the correct side and is persuasive as well, and there has been no forceful struggle against a number ideologies and discussions opposing the Four Cardinal Principles; in a number of issues, the Party’s pace is not in harmony; some news reports and theoretical or policy propaganda are one-sided; a small number of reports is inaccurate. At the same time, in leadership work, earnest discussion is lacking concerning a number of ideological principle issues, and there is not persistent development of criticism and self-criticism. It seems as though criticism violated the principle of the “Two Hundreds”, this sort of erroneous viewpoints has not yet been corrected with a part of comrades. The above flaws are being progressively rectified. In order to adapt to the requirements of further realizing economic reform and political stability as soon as possible, the Centre believes that centralized and unified leadership should be strengthened over periodicals, news, radio and television, making them able to realistically persist in Party spirit and principles, closely relate to the masses, carry forward a desirable trend of seeking truth from facts, showing one’s true colours, being realistic and accurate, vivid and vigorous, achieving great results for further realizing economic adjustment and political stability.

I, Periodicals, news, radio and television, must strictly conduct propaganda according to the Party line, principles and policies from the Third Plenum of the 11th Party Congress onwards. In the present and future periods, the most important task is that they must firmly safeguard and develop a stable and united political situation, and guarantee the smooth further adjustment of the national economy. They must continue to liberate thoughts, and stress the guiding ideology of criticizing the “Left” in economic work. They must strictly prevent the error of using criticism of the “Left” as a pretext for denying the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought and the Socialist system, and blotting out the huge achievements made in the 31 years since the country’s founding. They must closely relate to reality, and with rich and varied means, vigorously and vividly propagate the Party line, principles and policies, and the Party’s work, raising the people’s understanding of Socialism and their confidence in realizing the cause of modernization construction from all angles, and inspiring a revolutionary spirit. They must through patient explanation and elaboration, conduct education on all kinds of discussion doubting or misconstruing the Party line, principles and policies. As for discussions and actions openly resisting or opposing the Party line, principles and policies, they must separate circumstances, and firmly conduct strict and reasonable struggle on suitable occasions and in suitable ways.

Periodicals, news, radio and television must resolutely implement the principle of the “Two Hundreds”. The “Two Hundreds” principles cannot be understood as cancelling out the Four Cardinal Principles, cancelling out the Party’s Leadership, and cancelling out criticism and self-criticism. Otherwise, it would be possible to confuse the proletariat’s “Two Hundred” principle with capitalist liberalization. Periodicals and radio stations should launch vivid and realistic discussion related to correctly understanding and implementing all Party principles and policies, under Party leadership. This is beneficial to conducting deep propaganda and education for cadres and the masses. But, this sort of discussion must not become an open debate about the right or wrong of the Party’s basic principles and basic policies, in order to avoid ideological chaos being created among the masses. As for principle or policy questions on which the Centre has not yet made decisions or certain major political theoretical problems, in order to obtain all sorts of opinions, with the agreement of the Centre, these may be openly discussed in periodicals. For this sort of discussion, preparations must be made to come to a conclusion within a certain period of time, in order to prevent cadres and the masses are uncertain what to do, and all go their own way. Otherwise, it should not be openly discussed. Propaganda must be fully cautious of, and must objectively and completely reflect situations in case of policies and important measures that are in the process of experimentation, and may not make hasty judgements. Reports of special policies in special reasons must be explained. On radio and television, vivid and lively discussions that can be concluded on the spot shall generally be broadcast, and the newspaper-like method of continuing discussion should not be adopted.

II, Periodicals, news, radio and television must earnestly conduct propaganda concerning persisting in the Four Cardinal Principles. The core of persisting in the Four Cardinal Principles is persisting in Party leadership. This is key in whether or not the Four Modernizations can be realized, and is key in deciding the success and failure of economic adjustment. Propaganda of the Four Cardinal Principles must start from the real and ideological situation of the masses, the largest efforts are to be made to make sure this propaganda is truly persuasive. Ideologies and discussion doubting or slandering the Four Cardinal Principles may not be ignored or condoned, and it is even less permitted to use the Party’s propaganda tools to disseminate these, but forceful rebuttals should be made. Persisting in the Party’s leadership and improving the Party’s leadership must be earnestly propagated. Clarify the relationship between liberating thoughts, promoting democracy and strengthening Party leadership. Periodicals, news, radio and television workers must persist in the Party spirit and strengthen the Party spirit. The Party spirit is the highest reflection of the proletariats’ class nature. Comrade Mao Zedong once said: “All of a Communist’s discussion and action must have according with the largest benefit to the largest popular masses, and supporting the largest popular masses as the highest standards.” Only a Communist armed with Marxist ideology and revolutionary discipline is able to reach these standards, otherwise it’s impossible. The requirements of the Party spirit may absolutely never be reduced to the level of the common masses. If the party cannot rise to a leading position in the popular masses, then the Party has no meaning to its existence. Periodicals, news, radio and television cannot permit the dissemination of ideologies and discussions shaking and damaging our Party’s and Party Centre’s prestige, and must oppose the wrong attitude of using the mistakes that the Party Centre has once made as an excuse to refuse to obey the correct orientation of the Party Centre today. As for tendencies to weaken, cast off, cancel or oppose the Party’s leadership in any way, they must distinguish different circumstances, and conduct open or internal criticism, education and the necessary struggle. They shall integrate the present reality and make unremitting efforts to conduct vivid and forceful propaganda of the basic points of view of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong thought. They must conduct criticism with full argumentation that can realistically persuade the masses of those fallaciously attacking the basic points of view of Marxism and Mao Zedong Thought. This is one of the basic tasks of ideological and political programmes in periodicals or on broadcast. Respect for the revolutionary order and revolutionary discipline must be propagated, and it must be propagated that individual interest, departmental interests or temporary interests must be submitted to the long-term basic interest of the whole society,  persist and strengthen the people’s democratic dictatorship. It must be clearly understood that, although class contradictions are not the main contradictions in our country’s society anymore, class struggle truly still exists, and it should not be looked down upon. The inseparable relationship between carrying forward Socialist democracy and strengthening the Socialist legal system must be propagated. It must be propagated to firmly attack all sorts of forces destroying stability and unity (including all aspects of politics, economics and society), and firmly criticize all sorts of ideological trends destroying stability and unity. The necessity and righteousness of conducting dictatorship against counterrevolutionaries and criminals gravely harming social order must be forcefully propagated. The extremely important function of the People’s Liberation Army and the Public Security and judiciary departments in guaranteeing the people’s interest must be propagated, calling the people and youth to vigorously support this struggle, and pay attention to safeguarding their dignity and honour, and not to openly criticize them without proper necessity. This is where the basic interest of the State and the people s, and it may not be regarded a unimportant. Attention must be paid to using appropriate methods to expose political rumours and discussions that incite feudal superstitions that confuse and poison people’s minds.

III, Periodicals, news, radio and television must propagate the construction of a high-level Socialist spiritual civilization on a grand scale. Without this sort of spiritual civilization, Socialism cannot be constructed. Communist ideals and morals must be forcefully propagated; a patriotic ideal to do everything to strengthen the country must be propagated, strengthening the nation’s self-respect and self-confidence; propagate the ideal of unity between the Party and the masses, the unity between army and the people, and the unity between the people of all ethnicities in the entire country; propagate revolutionary heroism of first, not fearing suffering and second, not fearing death, and that all work must be intensely conducted in every station with a scientific spirit, oppose fear of difficulties and craven fear of death; they must constantly be on guard against war and danger, and make being part of the People’s Liberation Army and defending the Motherland into an unsurpassed honour. The fine tradition of closely relating to the masses, sharing joy and sorrow, and conquering adversity must be propagated, and cadres educated to be emphatic towards the hardship of the masses, and strive to resolve their real difficulties. Matters that cannot yet be realized for the moment ay certainly not be openly promised, and it is even more impossible to wittingly or unwittingly induce and encourage the people to demand resolution, in order to avoid people’s dissatisfaction with the government, or even the occurrence of disturbances. Problems that can only be resolved progressively, must be propagated less, or not be propagated at all, in order to avoid putting the Party and Government at a disadvantage. They must continue to criticize and oppose all sorts of remaining influence of feudalism in ideological and political aspects inside and outside of the Party, and resist the corrosion by degenerate capitalist ideology. It is necessary to criticize and oppose anarchism, individualism and capitalist liberalization tendencies. The principle of persuasion must be firmly implemented against ideological problems within cadres and the masses. Persist in bringing facts, speaking of reason, serving the people with reasoning, and not doing things in a roughshod manner, or cause blockage and suppression. If a certain ideological trend has already formed an organized destructive force that persists in regarding Socialism with hostility or regarding the Party’s leadership with hostility, it must be “blocked and suppressed” according to the law, and no person may support it in any way.

IV, Periodicals, news, radio and television must correctly deal with the relationship between praise and criticism. They must persist in the principle of mainly praising. Regardless of whether it concerns praise or criticism, they must seek truth from facts, be true and reliable, and may certainly not gossip, stoop to trickery, exaggerate and be inaccurate. The danger of untrue “praise” for the Party, relevant work units and relevant individuals is extremely large, and must be firmly opposed and prevented. Not only must they praise good people and good deeds of hard work and plain living, and being honest in performing original duties, they must give even more attention to propagate good people and good deeds of relying on the people and conquering adversity, reforming old habits and creating new situations, new undertakings, new methods and new atmospheres, and make the people gain education and interests.

In recent years, many newspapers and periodicals have given high regard to reflecting the masses’ opinions and voices, and have vigorously launched criticism and self-criticism, which has strengthened the relationship between the Party and the people, and has raised the reputation of the newspaper and the Party. Hereafter, they must still persist in doing this. All levels’ Party Committees must be good at utilizing periodicals to launch criticism and promote work. The quality of the Party’s work style relates to the Party’s life and death. It is necessary to continue to integrate reality, propagate and implement the “Some Criteria Concerning Inner-Party Political Life”. It is necessary to persist in conducting criticism and struggle against incorrect tendencies. It is necessary first and foremost to oppose a sort of incorrect tendency that resists the Party line, principles and policies since the 3rd Plenum or those going their own way but feigning compliance. Naturally, it is also necessary to criticize and correct bureaucratism and life privileges, but this sort of criticism must be conducted under the leadership of the Party. It is necessary to pay attention to methods and opportunities, pay attention to the difference between internal and external, persist in being well disposed towards people and curing the sickness while saving the patient. Criticism must choose typical examples, criticism by name must be discreet. Facts must certainly be clearly checked. It is necessary to hear the opinion from the relevant Party department and the opinion of the criticized person in advance. The influence of criticism by name in newspapers is much larger than that of praise, therefore, quantities must be controlled to some extent, radio and television must be even more cautious.

V, Literary  and art works or reviews in periodicals, literary and art programmes on radio and television have a major social influence. They must certainly persist in the orientation of serving the people and serving Socialism, correctly implement the principle of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend. They must stress that serving the people, is first serving labourers, peasants and soldiers, and serving the Four Modernizations. They must correctly understand and reflect the new era in which we are, and stimulate the entire Party, the entire Army and the people of all ethnicities in the entire country to undertake the grand cause of the Four Modernizations with one heart and one mind. They must enthusiastically extol new Socialist persons and pioneers of the Four Modernizations. The objective of exposing and criticizing the dark side of things is to correct them, and they must have a correct position and point of view, making people strengthen their confidence and strength, and preventing negative influences. Works concerning errors of anti-Rightists, and anti-rightist opportunism or exposing the decade of chaos, these have already been published in some quantity, these works generally are beneficial, and the absolute majority of writes  that write these works start from a sense of responsibility to history and to the People, and from revolutionary enthusiasm. It must be pointed out to the literary and art world, that hereafter, these sorts of themes may naturally still be written, but if they are published in overly large numbers, they may bring about a certain negative influence, and this also is an objective fact, and it is hoped that they are able to understand this point. They must, under the leadership of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, strengthen cultural review work, and criticism that seeks truth from facts must be conducted against works advocating wrong ideological trends. A number of people use literature and art to deny the Four Cardinal Principles, and enter into rivalry with the Party line, principles and policies, they must be firmly resisted and opposed. The vigour of literature and art workers’ concern for national political life and social life must be guided to the correct track for constructing Socialism.

VI, Periodicals, news, radio and television are public opinion organs, and must strengthen organizational discipline. They must unconditionally preserve political unity with the Centre, and are not permitted to publish discussions contradicting the Party line, principles and policies. They must accept and submit to Party leadership, all theoretical questions relating to the Party line, principles and policies as well as major politics, must be unified with the decisions and line of the Party Centre externally, must keep in step with the Party, and it is prohibited for each to go his own way. If there are opinions diverging from the Party line, principles and policies and Party Committee decisions, they may be put forward wit the higher-level Party Committee, right up to the Centre, and some may also be explored in internal Party periodicals., but where the higher-level has not yet changed the relevant decision, it may not be openly published, and it is even more impossible to write a different set of opinions that propagate the contrary of the Party’s basic position. Within Party public opinion organs such as periodicals, news, radio, television, etc., centralization and unification must equally be strengthened, it cannot be that each does things in his own way. It is necessary to realistically study and realistically improve study styles and literary styles, persist in the fine traditions of theory closely relating with reality, seek truth from facts, and overall starting from the real situation, it is necessary to establish the necessary strict responsibility systems. Party and Youth League members engaging in periodicals, news, radio and television work must be propaganda models of the Party line, principles and policies, and persist in the principle of the Party spirit, be a model for considering the larger picture, and a model for respecting Party discipline and safeguarding Party unity, and a model for deeply going into reality and relating to the masses. Periodicals, news, radio and television systems’ Party organizations should truly take up a function as the Party’s fighting fortress.

All levels’ Party Committees must strengthen and improve leadership over periodicals, news, radio and television work. They must adjust and enrich periodicals, news, and radio and television teams, strive to raise their Marxist theory level and level of consciousness in propagating the Party line, principles and policies. They must vigorously improve their work conditions, help them to summarize experiences and improve work, to the best of their ability give rein to their initiative, vigour and creativity.

The Centre believes that all comrades at the periodicals, news, radio and television battle front can certainly further firmly implement principles decided by the Centre, carry their achievements forward, correct flaws, and making their own work serious and conscientious, and also vivid and vigorous, making even larger contributions to the Party’s cause.

VII, This decision shall be transmitted together with all documents of the Centre’s work meeting of December 1980, and especially the speech of Comrade Deng Xiaoping, for implementation. During transmission and implementation, the emphasis must be to explain that these principles are the continuation of all principles from since the 3rd Plenum. It is necessary to realistically prevent and correct that sort of wrong point of view of separating the spirit of the December work meeting and this Decision, contrast them to each other, and believe that they change or revise the spirit of the 3rd Plenum. There are a number of comrades misunderstanding the spirit of the 3rd Plenum, they show this sort of wrong point of view and don’t find this strange. But their error must be pointed out, and they are not permitted to continue to disseminate their own wrong point of view. This is a uniform understanding of the whole Party, and causes the entire Party’s ideology workers and the Centre to preserve political unity in the face of major problems, and it is hoped that all the comrades of all relevant departments pay special attention to this when transmitting and implementing this Decision.

Central Committee

29 January 1980




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