BBC reports that meetings are taking place nationwide to disseminate the spirit of an earlier Central Committee propaganda meeting. The leftist Chinese website Sing Red Songs (changhonggewang 唱红歌网)has a slightly more detailed explanation of the new “propaganda spirit”, which consists of five main points:
Recently, the Central Committee Propaganda Work Meeting concluded. This Propaganda Work Meeting was a milestone meeting. At present, all provincial, municipal and regional CCP Propaganda Department directors are transmitting the spirit of the Central Propaganda Work Meeting, on the basis of the announcements of people attending a number of provincial transmission meetings, the future Central propaganda themes are clear and obvious. The Propaganda Work Meeting spirit is as follows:
I, We must persist in the “mouthpiece theory” of the media, which is that Chinese media, regardless of whether they are traditional media or new media, shall be the mouthpiece of the Party and the mouthpiece of the people, this is decided by our political system, some people have confused conceptions or mistaken viewpoints in this regard, and hereafter, Party-managed media are not permitted to publish voices that go against the interest of the Party and the people, now, some media undergo structural transformation, and are run by social forces, they must also respect this principle, otherwise these business powers are recalled or they will no longer be run (it is understood that some provinces and regions have already begun to withdraw a number of society-run periodicals).
II, We must persist in the guiding ideology of the Party and the State being Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and specific theories, there must be theoretical self-confidence, but thoughts have been relatively chaotic in this regard, a number of people continue to propagate the theory that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is out of date, and disseminate mistaken viewpoints, in the future, anti-Marxism-Leninism-Maoism discourse cannot be permitted to openly and broadly appear in the media. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as a guiding ideology has been determined by our political system, and has been selected and examined through long-term practice of the Party and the people, furthermore, it is still the basis of our undertaking at this time, and is not something that can be wilfully dismissed by some people out of hand.
III, We must pay attention to the problem that the “New Three Antis People” occupy the media and public opinion battlefields. The so-called “New Three Antis People” are people who persist in anti-Party, anti-State and anti-Nation viewpoints, these people were originally fostered by the Party, and the Party arranged for the to be on the public opinion battlefield, but they do not speak for the undertaking of the Party, they always sing a different tune; some even take State subsidies and still say that our country is without any merit; enviously, you are a child of the Chinese nation, but you are always criticizing this nation, these people cannot continue to remain in the media, cannot engage in public opinion and propaganda work, and it should be so that “if viewpoints don’t change, people will be changed”.
IV, We must strengthen management and guidance over the media, media personnel must have clear political viewpoints, must have sober political minds, must persist in the principles of objectivity and truth, must dialectically deal with the relations between objects, and must be responsible to society, for example, media report negative things all the time, across whole pages, they turn a blind eye to positive things, are you being objective and truthful? Many people are bragging about the freedom of speech in the United States, recently, the United States Department of Education put the quotations of Mao Zedong online, with the result that it led to negative repercussions nationwide, here, if we propagate the quotations of Lincoln everywhere, everyone calmly accepts this, should this not cause us to rethink matters?
V, To strengthen the leadership of the Party over media and public opinion, we must start grasping matters from fostering news talents, all higher education schools that have news-type majors, must absolutely place fostering students’ correct ideological concepts and correct political viewpoints first, all those people having “New Three Antis” tendencies, and having confused ideologies or chaotic viewpoints, cannot engage in the fostering of news talents in higher education. In the future, Party and State cadres are to be sent to all higher education news majors to go and switch positions with all higher education news teachers, who are to go to media, Party and State organs.
Certainly, after 30 years of reform and opening up, the “New Three Antis People” continue to hold the media and public opinion battlefield. They stand within the Party and within the system, and oppose the Party, oppose the State and oppose the Nation. These people cannot continue to remain within the media, cannot engage in public opinion and propaganda work, and if “viewpoints aren’t changed, people will be changed”. This propaganda work spirit enjoys popular confidence, and is something that has only come after 30 years of hope from the people in the entire country. This propaganda meeting that benefits the country and benefits the people truly merits applause!
In terms of substance, there is nothing new: every single important media policy document refers to Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong thought, and indicates that the media are the mouthpiece of the Party. What is slightly more interesting here, is the tone and the focus on the “Three New Antis”: people who are “against the Party, against the State and against the Nation”. As I indicated earlier, a core element of Chinese official discourse is that it is impossible to legitimately disagree with the official line: either such disagreement results from ignorance – which must be solved by teaching – or enmity, which must be countered with struggle. However, until now, there seems to have been a preference to keep the tent as big as possible. It seems now that – if this report is truthful – there may be a rectification wave where people in journalism and related professions may lose their positions. Is anyone still convinced Xi is a reformer?