Recently, a number of publishers had published some books specially researching and introducing “Cultural Revolution” history, events and personalities; some publishers are now arranging theme selection in this area; there are also a number of publishers who solicit readers with guises such as “anecdotes”, “unknown stories” and “behind the scenes” about the so-called “Cultural Revolution” period, which has generated a bad influence on society. Recently, the Central leading comrades pointed out in regard to questions about publishing books on the “Cultural Revolution”: on the basis of the persistent spirit that the Centre looks ahead unitedly and as one, and that historical issues are easy to deal with coarsely but not in detail, as well as the instructions of Comrade Deng Xiaoping that we must strengthen Party concentration and unified leadership at present and give rein to political superiority, the present competition to publish the “Cultural Revolution Dictionary” extremely easily leads to tossing over in old blankets, attracting controversy, and there is no necessity for this. The methods of brushing aside and ignoring the “Notice” issued by the Central Propaganda Department, creating faits accomplis, and forcing the Centre to approve them cannot be accepted, and the past provisions of the Centre are reiterated, and it is pointed out that publishing this sort of books may lead to anti-effects, therefore, do not consider at all to apply to publish the “Cultural History Dictionary” within a corresponding period of time.
To this end, the following provisions are made concerning publishing books on the “Cultural Revolution”:
I, Dictionaries and other reference works related to the “Cultural Revolution”, may not be arranged for by any publishing house within a corresponding time from now on. All cases where arrangements have been made (including where the printing process has started), and no approval from the Central Propaganda Department and the Administration of Press and Publications has been obtained, are to be cancelled, and the relevant situation is to be reported to the Central Propaganda Department and the Administration of Press and Publications.
II, All works that fall under specially researching the “Cultural Revolution” and historical works specially recounting the “Cultural Revolution” may generally not be arranged, selected topics with true value must be specially reported by local publishers to the local provincial (autonomous region, municipal) Party Committee Propaganda Department, Central-level publishers report to their higher-level controlling ministry (committee), who after strict inspection and agreement, write a written examination opinion, and report to the Administration of Press and Publications and the Central Propaganda Department for approval.
III, Memoirs and documentary writing works, etc., related to the “Cultural Revolution”, have been published in significant number in the past periods, and may in principle not be arranged again. This sort of publications mainly having “unofficial history” or “unknown secrets” of Lin Biao and the “Gang of Four” as main content, making up groundless accusations and wanton fabrications, or exaggerate facts may not be published anymore. For memoirs having a certain value, that are solemn and earnest, local publishers reports to the local provincial (autonomous region, municipal) Party Committee Propaganda Department, Central-level publishers report to their higher-level controlling departments (committees), who after strict inspection and agreement, write a written examination opinion, and report to the Administration of Press and Publications and the Central Propaganda Department for approval, and publishing may only be organized after agreement. These memoirs must be accurate in terms of facts, and may not violate the spirit of the Central Committee “Decision concerning Some Historical Issues of the Party since Founding the Nation”, may not wilfully use historical materials that have not been officially opened by the Centre, and may not wilfully involve individual moral questions of Party and State leaders.
IV, Publishing of abovementioned books related to the “Cultural Revolution” that are approved for publication, is at present limited to publication by all localities’ people’s publishing houses and the relevant Central-level social science publishing houses, other publishers may not arrange for this. These books may without exception not be published as cooperative books or printed and distributed through agency.
V, Distribution of the abovementioned books is completely handed over to the Xinhua bookstores, and they may not be handed over to individual or collective bookstalls (shops) for wholesale.
VI, For translations of foreign books related to the “Cultural Revolution”, the abovementioned provisions apply without exception.
VII, Publishers of books on the “Cultural Revolution” that have not undergone examination and approval by the Central Propaganda Department and the Administration of Press and Publication that are currently being arranged or printed, after receiving this notice, must without exception provisionally cease printing and distribution of this sort of books, and at the same time shall report the theme selection and book arrangement situation to the Central Propaganda Department and the Administration of Press and Publications, and wait for further instructions.
VIII, These Regulations are to be implemented from the date of receiving the document. All those violating the abovementioned provisions, are punished with punishments including confiscation of profit, fines, prosecution of leading responsibility, etc. All punishments are decided upon by all provincial, autonomous region and municipal press and publications bureaus, and when necessary, are decided upon by the Administration of Press and Publications.
IX, In all cases where past provisions do not conform to these Regulations, these Regulations apply.
To: all provincial, autonomous region, municipal and plan-listed city Party Committee Propaganda Departments, People’s Government Press and Publications Bureaus, the Hong Kong and Macau Working Committee Propaganda Department, the General Political Department Propaganda Department, all work units’ Party Committees and Party Groups in the Central propaganda system, central-level publishers
CC: All Central Committee and State Council ministries and commissions, all people’s organizations
1988.12.10； 中宣发文［1988］31号，［1988］新出联字第 8 号