This article by GAPPRFT director Cai Fuchao was first published in People’s Daily on 25 September
Persist in Giving First Place to Positive Propaganda Throughout, Consolidate and Expand Mainstream Ideology and Public Opinion
Deeply Study and Implement the Spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Speech at the National Propaganda and Ideology Work Conference
Comrade Xi Jinping’s important speech at the National Propaganda and Ideology Work Conference stood on the strategic heights of the overall picture of the undertaking and development of the Party and the country, it deeply elaborated a series of major theoretical and real issues concerning the long-term development of propaganda and ideology work, it clarified the future direction and provided a basic path to adhere to in propaganda and ideology work. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that: “Persisting in unity, stability and enthusiasm, and giving first place to positive propaganda, are important principles that must be observed in propaganda and ideology work”, and stressed the necessity to “fully give rein to the function of positive propaganda in inspiring and encouraging people”. This important argument deeply elaborated where the duty, the mission and the values of propaganda and ideology work lie, and that it has a very strong ideological nature, political nature, focused nature and guiding nature. The press, publications, radio, film and television system must deeply study, comprehend and completely implement the spirit of Comrade Xi Jinping’s important speech, and drive the press, publications, radio, film and television undertaking incessantly towards new stages, and to open up new dimensions.
Persisting in giving first place to positive propaganda requires uniting thoughts, raising understanding and incessantly strengthening the resolve and consciousness concerning doing positive propaganda well.
A progressive era always has a sort of upward spirit, a developing society always has a sort of positive mainstream. Forcefully carrying forward a high-spirited social mainstream and a social nature with bright progress, and forcefully propagating the magnificent practice of the Party’s leading the people to create beautiful lives are the basic essentials of positive propaganda, they reflect the Marxist news view, and embody the fine traditions of propaganda and ideology work, they comply with the popular masses’ desires and expectations, and are the work direction that propaganda and ideology work must persist in for a long time.
Propaganda and ideology work is an important component part of the undertaking of the Party and the people, we must make satisfying the basic interests of the broadest people into our objective and final goal, and unite, encourage and concentrate the people of all ethnicities in the entire country to struggle unwaveringly for the Socialist undertaking. The basic interest of the broadest people in present-day China is persisting in the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, and realizing the Chinese Dream of the magnificent rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. This is the main melody of the time, and the greatest forte. Propaganda and ideology work must establish a strong political sense of responsibility and historical sense of mission, persist in giving first place to positive propaganda, forcefully carry this main melody of the times forward, play this forte of the times, and provide strong public opinion support for the wealth and strength of the country, the rejuvenation of the nation and the happiness of the people.
Historically, our Party has always given high regard to propaganda and ideology work, and has stressed the use of positive propaganda to drive the undertaking and development of the Party and the people. On the revolutionary battlefields clouded with gunpowder and on the Socialist construction sites that were bustling with activities, during the first wave of reform, opening up and storming fortifications to overcome difficulties, or at the front line of rescue and relief work, positive propaganda has penetrated into the overall process from beginning to end. Propaganda about every major achievement, every model example and every meritorious deed has inspired the spirit of the nation and encouraged the popular masses to vanquish difficulties and gain victory. Persisting in and developing Socialism with Chinese characteristics from a new historical starting point equally requires persisting in giving first place to positive propaganda, and fuel the enthusiasm of 1.3 billion people to throw themselves in to reform, opening up and modernization construction.
Persisting in giving first place to positive propaganda is also a necessary requirement to unify thoughts and concentrate forces in the face of deep changes in the present international and domestic circumstances and the deep adjustment of the public opinion structure. The deep changes in global circumstances, national circumstances and Party circumstances have brought new opportunities for the development of the undertaking of the Party and the state, and has brought new challenges as well. In the face of constant change in international circumstances, the task of safeguarding our country’s political security and ideological security has become even more strenuous; in the face of changes and transformations in the domestic economy and society, the task to rationalize emotions and dissolve contradictions has become even more strenuous; in the face of the deepening development of the Socialist market economy and the incessant expansion of opening up to the outside world, the task to raise the entire nation’s ideological and moral quality and the entire society’s levels of civilization has become even more strenuous; in the face of the helter-skelter development of modern communications technology, the task of raising the capacity to master the Internet and other new media, and to mould the power of online public opinion has become ever more strenuous. This urgently requires us to persist in giving first place to positive propaganda, consolidate and expand mainstream ideology and public opinion, carry forward the main melody, disseminate positive energy, and stimulate the powerful forces of the entire society to unite and advance bravely
Persisting in giving first place to positive propaganda requires that we implement well the basic task of revolving around the Centre and serving the bigger picture, and extensively concentrate strong positive energy to realize the “Two Centuries” struggle objective and the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that propaganda and ideology work must absolutely have revolving around the Centre and serving the bigger picture as basic task. This important argument further elucidates that duties and tasks of propaganda and ideology work under new circumstances. In persisting in giving first place to positive propaganda, we must closely revolve around this centre of economic construction, fix eyes upon serving the bigger picture of Party and State work, do more work to unify thoughts and concentrate forces, and do more work to encourage morale and raise confidence.
Launch positive propaganda revolving around persisting in and developing Socialism with Chinese characteristics and realizing the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, building a firm basis for ideals and convictions. Make firm ideals and convictions into a core topic for positive propaganda, deeply launch propaganda and education on Socialism with Chinese characteristics, vigorously propagate the unique creation of the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, the unique value of the theory of Socialism with Chinese characteristics and the unique superiority of the system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, forcefully manifest the power of Marxist truth, guide cadres and masses to deeply comprehend the achievements of the Party’s theoretical innovation, ensure piety and perseverance, trustworthiness and profundity. Unwaveringly launch propaganda and education about the Chinese Dream, deeply propagate and elaborate the basic meaning of the Chinese Dream, deeply propagate and elaborate the real channels, value support and driving sources of the Chinese Dream, push the Chinese Dream into minds, into hearts and into actions.
Launch positive propaganda revolving around comprehensively construction a moderately prosperous society, and moving reform, opening up and Socialist modernization construction forward, concentrating forces for reform and development. Strive to serve economic and social development, forcefully propagate the Centre’s work deployments and policy measures concerning strengthening and improving macro-level adjustment, expanding dynamics for the strategic restructuring of economic structures, and stimulating the transformation of economic development methods, propagate new achievements in guaranteeing and improving people’s livelihoods and raising the people’s living standards, construct a thick atmosphere of scientific development and doing real work to rejuvenate the country. Deeply propagate the major significance and strategic deployment of deepening reform and opening up, propagate new advances in important areas of reform, construct a public opinion environment beneficial to deepening reform and opening up.
Launch positive propaganda revolving around the construction of a Socialist core value system, casting a spirit to rejuvenate and strengthen the country. Closely revolve around the “three proposals” put forward at the 18th Party Congress, further propagate and elaborate the profound meaning of the Socialist core value system, propagate and elaborate the practical requirements of the Socialist core value system, ensure that it becomes a household term, and deeply enters people’s hearts. Vigorously create good social conditions and social environments to reflect the demands of the Socialist core value system in all aspects of economic and social development, promote the internalization of the Socialist core value system into hearts and its externalization into actions, so that it becomes the value pursuit and conscious practice of the whole body of the people.
Persisting in giving first place to positive propaganda requires persistence in the unity of the Party nature and the people’s nature, and the unification of reflecting the Party’s viewpoints and mirroring the people’s wishes.
The relationship between the Party nature and the people’s nature is a major issue of principle that must be correctly understood and correctly grasped in propaganda and ideology work. Comrade Xi Jinping stressed that the Party nature and the people’s nature will always be consistent and united. Essentially, persisting in the Party nature means persisting in the people’s nature, and persisting in the people’s nature means persisting in the Party nature, the Party nature resides within the people’s nature, there is no Party nature that is separate from the people’s nature, and there is no people’s nature that is removed from the Party nature. This important argument deeply revealed the fundamental property and basic requirement of propaganda and ideology work. Persisting in giving first place to positive propaganda means persisting in the unity of the Party nature and the people’s nature, it means uniting reflecting the Party’s standpoints and mirroring the people’s wishes, disseminating the voice of the Party and Government even more distinctly and vigorously, displaying the mainstream of social progress, mirroring the wishes of the popular masses, and consolidating and developing a healthy and upward mainstream public opinion.
To persist in giving first place to positive propaganda, we must stress the Party nature and closely grasp the correct public opinion orientation. The crux of persisting in the Party nature is persisting in the correct political orientation, standing on stable political viewpoints, persisting in propagating the Party’s theory, line, principles and policies, persisting in propagating the Centre’s major work deployments, persisting in propagating the Centre’s major analyses and judgments concerning the circumstances, persisting in maintaining a high level of consistency with the Party Centre and persisting in the authority of the Centre. We must firmly establish a political consciousness, a consciousness about the bigger picture and a sense of responsibility, strengthen political acuity and political distinguishing strength, serve the undertaking of the Party and the people in fulfilling our duties and responsibilities, and we must conform to the demands of the Party concerning whatever we persist in, whatever we oppose, whatever we say and whatever we do. We must persist in the principle that the Party manages the media without wavering, persist in the fact that politicians run newspapers, run periodicals, run stations and run news websites, strengthen education about the Marxist view of news, and contribute even better to consolidating the guiding position of Marxism in the ideological area and to consolidating the common ideological basis for the united struggle of the entire Party and the people in the entire country.
To persist in giving first place to positive propaganda, we must stress the people’s nature, and firmly establish a work direction with the people at the centre. Establishing a work direction with the people at the centre reflects the political standpoint of a Marxist party, and reflects the essential requirements of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, it further answers this basic question of “for whose sake, with whose support, who am I?” To persist in giving first place to positive propaganda, we must make realizing, safeguarding and developing the basic interests of the broadest people into a starting point and a checkpoint, persist in putting the masses first and putting people first, integrate serving the masses with educating and guiding the masses, integrate satisfying demands with raising accomplishments, propagate more reports on the popular masses’ magnificent struggle and fervent lives, propagate more advanced models and moving deeds emerging from among the popular masses, enrich the masses’ spiritual world, strengthen the people’s mental strength, satisfy the people’s spiritual demands. Ensure public opinion guidance on social hot spots and issues, actively set up discussion topics and timely resolve misunderstandings in matters of education, employment, medicine, housing, ecology and the environment, food security and other such issues that the popular masses are concerned about, guide psychological preparation and promote social consensus. Expand public opinion supervision strength, persist in correct supervision, scientific supervision, supervision according to the law, and constructive supervision, safeguard the people’s interests even better, closely link up the Party and the masses, stimulate social harmony.
To persist in giving first place to positive propaganda, we must strengthen social responsibilities, strengthen a sense of undertaking work, and raise the dissemination strength, credibility and influence of mainstream media.
At present, we are conducting a magnificent practice that has many new historical characteristics, and the challenges and difficulties we face are unprecedented. History and practice tell us that the more huge challenges and difficulties must be responded to, and the more intricate the public opinion environment becomes, the more we must strengthen the social responsibility of the media, strengthen the media’s sense of undertaking work, closely grasp the initiative, dominance and discourse power in news and public opinion, and vigorously give rein to the function of positive propaganda in encouraging and inspiring people.
Strengthen the media’s social responsibility, sing the main melody, and stimulate spiritual energy. News media are the witnesses and recorders of contemporary China’s reform and development, and are builders of and participants in Socialism with Chinese characteristics. They must further strengthen their sense of social responsibility, forcefully propagate and display the huge achievements of reform and opening up and the mainstream of social development and progress, carry forward all thoughts and spirit that benefit strengthening common ideals and concentrating advanced forces, carry forward all thoughts and spirits that benefit the promotion of scientific development and the stimulation of social harmony, carry forward all thoughts and spirits that benefit realizing national wealth and power and enhancing the people’s happiness, carry forward all thoughts and spirits that benefit the comprehensive construction of a moderately prosperous society and realizing the magnificent Chinese Dream, and sing a high-spirited and upward song of righteousness in the entire society. They must persist in attaching most importance to the undertaking at the Party and the people, be good at grasping reporting themes in the light of the overall picture, be good at inspecting and judging propaganda effect in the light of the whole, consciously abide by propaganda discipline and absolutely not provide dissemination channels for noise, murmurs and mistaken ideologies.
Strengthen the media’s sense of undertaking work, launch the public opinion struggle in a rational, beneficial and measured manner. Persisting in giving first place to positive propaganda absolutely does not mean abandoning the public opinion struggle. In the face of issues of political principle involving great questions of right and wrong, we must keep our minds firmly on political responsibility, have firm stands, clear viewpoints and unequivocal attitudes, be able to stand in the teeth of the storm and speak the truth, fix eyes upon uniting and striving for the absolute majority, dare to launch the public opinion struggle, help cadres and the masses to make a clear distinction between right and wrong, and clear up vague understandings. In the face of this great difficulty of online public opinion guidance, we must have the courage to dare to grasp and manage, to dare to unsheathe the sword, the audacity to dare to confront opponents and take them seriously, and the ambition to dare to undertake work and be responsible, we must improve online public opinion guidance, strengthen online content construction, raise our ability to use advanced technology to disseminate advanced culture, and maintain the dominant position of correct ideology and public opinion in occupying the network.
To persist in giving first place to positive propaganda, we must persist in the “three stick close to” and practice the “march towards reform”, and raise the quality and level of positive propaganda with a spirit of reform and innovation.
Following the profound changes in domestic and foreign circumstances, the external environment, social conditions and work targets of propaganda and ideology work have incessantly seen new changes. Comrade Xi Jinping stressed that doing propaganda and ideology work well requires more innovation than at any time in the past. To expand and strengthen positive propaganda, we must make reform and innovation into a perpetual theme, a strong engine and a necessary path, strive to ensure that all reform and innovation ideas are respected, all reform and innovation measures are supported and all reform and innovation results are affirmed, to ensure that propaganda and ideology work reflects the nature of the times, grasps regularities, is rich in creativity, quality and levels are increasingly raised and influence and infectiousness are strengthened.
We must forcefully move propaganda concept innovation forward, make liberating thoughts into the master switch of reform and innovation from beginning to end, maintain ideological acuity and openness, dare to surmount the fetters of obsolete concepts, be good at breaking through habitual thinking modes, dare to get rid of shackles that are unsuited to the times, further establish timely and correct, open and transparent, complete and objective public opinion guidance concepts, truly start a new dimension in positive propaganda with new leaps in ideological understanding. We must forcefully move propaganda content innovation forward, further improve propaganda about circumstances, propaganda about achievements, propaganda about models and propaganda about subjects, move minds in terms of truth and reliability, write articles that inspire affection and respect, work hard to enter minds and hearts, to ensure that positive propaganda is what people love to see and hear, engender resonance, and ensure that advanced models are believable, understandable and learnable for people. We must forcefully move propaganda method innovation forward, respond to the new circumstances of the continued increase in social informatization, accelerate the converged development of traditional media and new media, fully utilize new technology and new applications to innovate media dissemination methods, expand positive propaganda battlefields, occupy the commanding heights of information dissemination, shape a new dimension in which traditional media and new media interact, each has strong points and each uses their abilities, skills and powers to the fullest, to do positive propaganda well. We must forcefully move propaganda method innovation forward, deeply research the psychological characteristics and reception habits of audiences, abide by dissemination laws, pay attention to the art of dissemination, stress dissemination effect, grasp timing, extent and effect well, guide the broad masses to look towards the mainstream more and not be dominated by tributaries; to look towards the bright side more and not be influenced by the dark side; to look towards fundamentals more and not be misled by superficial phenomena. We must forcefully move propaganda language innovation forward, unwaveringly transform work styles, rectify study styles and improve writing styles, use s more effective and short language, use a more simple and honest language, use a more dynamic new language, and strengthen the real effect of positive propaganda with refreshing, plain, vivid and lively writing style.
(The author is a vice-Director of the Central Propaganda Department and the Director of the General Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television)