The full text of Xi Jinping’s speech has not yet been published. This is a translation of the People’s Daily report.
At the Party’s News and Public Opinion Work Conference, Xi Jinping Stresses Persisting in the Correct Orientation, Innovating Methods and Means, and Raising the Dissemination Strength and Guidance Strength of News and Public Opinion
Xinhua, Beijing, 19 February (Journalists: Li Bin, Huo Xiaogang) CCP Central Committee General Secretary, State President and Chairman of the Central Military Commission Xi Jinping chaired the News and Public Opinion Work Conference that convened in Beijing on the 19th, and gave an important speech. He stressed that the Party’s news and public opinion work is an important work, it is a great matter in governing the country and bringing peace to the nation, it must adapt to the developments of domestic and foreign circumstances, grasp its position by starting from the overall picture of Party work, persist in the Party’s leadership, persist in the correct political orientation, persist in the work orientation of putting the people central, abide by the laws of news and communication, innovate methods and means, and realistically raise the dissemination strength, guidance strength, influence and credibility of the Party’s news and public opinion.
Since the 18th Party Congress, the Party Centre with Xi Jinping as General Secretary has given high regard to the Party’s news and public opinion work, it has repeatedly researched relevant problems and made important deployments. The convention of this Conference is aimed to promote vigorous reform and innovation as the press and public opinion front adapts to circumstances and developments, and to comprehensively raise its working capabilities and levels.
In order to convene this Conference, Xi Jinping went to three Central news work units, the People’s Daily, Xinhua and CCTV, to conduct on-the-spot investigation and research.
CCP Politburo Member and Secretary of the General Secretariat Xi Jinping accompanied this investigation and research and attended the Conference.
On the morning of the 19th, Xi Jinping first went to the People’s Daily for investigation and research. In the editorial building, one poster after another, and one photograph after another, displayed the care of the Party Centre for the People’s Daily, reflecting the uncommon trajectory the People’s Daily has marched. On the one hand, Xi Jinping viewed these, and on the other hand listened to reports, he fully affirmed the important contributions the People’s Daily has made to the undertaking of the Party and the people in the 68 years since its first publication. At the editor-in-chief’s office night shift platform, Xi Jinping watched the editors composing [the newspaper], had warm interactions with everyone, encouraged them not to forget their original purpose, hold firm beliefs, run the newspaper well, and provide ever more and better spiritual nourishment to the people in the entire nation. Xi Jinping walked to the new media centre, listened to an introduction of microblog, WeChat and user terminal work in front of a large screen, sat down in front of a computer to send out voice information through a new media platform, and sent his Lantern Festival wishes and regards to the people in the entire country.
Afterwards, Xi Jinping came to the People’s Daily online television studio, linked wires with the People’s Daily journalists through video, and interacted with the villagers in Chixi Village, Ningde Municipality, Fujian. Chixi Village used to be an extremely poor village, and through many years, extricated itself from poverty with very visible results under the personal care and leadership of Xi Jinping, Xi Jinping gave important instructions on 29 January 2015 in material reflecting that village’s poverty relief work, stressing that the attack against poverty must be characterized by “diligence in spite of difficulty, tenacious struggle, erode the stone with drops of water, and gain success forever.” In the video, Xi Jinping successively spoke with the village’s Party Branch secretary Du Jiazhu, and the retired cadre Wang Shaoju who cared for and supported Chixi’s poverty relief for a very long time, he sent his regard to the village folk, exhorted them to safeguard the clear water and green mountains, and march a path of green development in which ecology enriches the people.
Around 10 o’clock, Xi Jinping came to Xinhua, where he viewed Xinhua’s special exhibition on “History and Development”. The box in which Chairman Mao’s manuscripts were kept, the hand crank of the Yan’an era,… He frequently halted and inquired about relevant circumstances. Responsible comrades from Xinhua made introductions about how they are currently accelerating the converged development of media, using eight kinds of characters every day to provide comprehensive media, news and information products to the world, and Xi Jinping expressed approval of this.
In the news information dispatching centre, Xi Jinping linked up with Xinhua journalists covering news in Lankao County, Henan through video. The journalists reported to the General Secretary about the grass roots cadres’ new appearance after changing their work styles which they encountered in their coverage, Xi Jinping encouraged the journalists to often go deep into the grassroots, and deep among the people, and timely discover and propagate the advanced models of grass roots cadres. Having seen Xinhua’s news information product exhibitions on the Silk Road database, the China Photographic Archive Digital Management System, etc., Xi Jinping touched on a mobile telephone screen to praise new workers nationwide through Xinhua’s user terminal. In the domestic department, a journalist who had just returned from “going to the grass roots” in Zhengding County, Hebei, reported to the General Secretary about the new changes in Tayuanzhuang Village, Xi Jinping requested him to transmit his best wishes to the village folk. Xi Jinping also went to the international department, the editorial department and other such work areas, had interactions with the united front editors and journalists, and expressed sympathies to everyone.
Around noon, Xi Jinping came to CCTV. He listened to introductions about CCTV’s sectoral work, media convergence, etc., he went to the general control centre to view a video exhibition about the construction of television communication capacity, he went to the “News Broadcast” studio and control room to understand about news production and broadcast processes from presenters and employees, and pushed buttons himself to experience a mock broadcast. Xi Jinping pointed out that CCTV has an audience of hundreds of millions every day, it absolutely must follow in step of the times, expand their horizon to include the whole world, plan a number of good columns that blend ideas and artistry, and run more good programmes that are universally appreciated, and incorporate teaching and play.
Learning about the rapid development of CCTV’s overseas business, and the newsgathering and communication networks that have already become globalized, XI Jinping linked up with CCTV North America’s responsible people through video, inquiring about foreign work circumstances, he hoped they would use their internationalized communication platform well, to objectively, truthfully and vividly report China’s economic and social developments, disseminate Chinese culture, tell China’s story well, and stimulate foreign audience to understand China better.
That afternoon, Xi Jinping chaired the Party’s News and Public Opinion Work Conference that was convened at the Great Hall of the People. At the Conference, the People’s Daily head Yang Zhenwu, Xinhua director Cai Mingzhao, CCTV head Nie Chenxi, editorial representative Fan Zhengwei, journalist representative Li Heyong and presenter representative Kang Hui gave speeches, they talked about their understanding, discussed their work and put forward suggestions. Xi Jinping listened and took notes, and repeatedly intervened for interaction.
After listening to their statements, Xi Jinping gave an important speech. Xi Jinping pointed out that for a long time, major Central media have breathed together with the Party and the people, and progressed in step with the times, they have vigorously propagated the truth of Marxism, propagated the Party’s standpoints and reflected the appeals from the masses, giving them an extremely important role in all historical periods of revolution, construction and reform. Since the 18th Party Congress, major Central media have prominently propagated the spirit of the 18th Party Congress and the 3rd, 4th and 5th Plenums of the 18th Party Congress, they have elucidated the Party’s major policy decisions and work deployments, they have reflected the magnificent practice and spiritual bearing of the people, they have sung the main melody, disseminated positive energy, and powerfully stimulated the great power with which the entire Party, the entire country and the people of all ethnicities have united and struggled to realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Xi Jinping stressed that doing Party news and public opinion well concerns the banner and the path, concerns the implementation of the Party’s theories, line, principles and policies, concerns the smooth progression of all undertakings of the Party and the country, concerns the cohesion and centripetal force of the entire Party, the entire country and the people of all ethnicities, and concerns the future destiny of the Party and the country. They must start grasping Party news and public opinion work from the overall picture of Party work, ensure that they give high regard to ideology, and are meticulous and powerful in their work.
Xi Jinping pointed out that, under the new circumstances of the times, the responsibilities and missions of Party news and public opinion work are: holding high the banner, leading the orientation, focusing on the Centre, serving the bigger picture, uniting the people, enhancing troop morale, creating decent people, concentrating hearts and gathering forces, clarifying falsehoods, clearly distinguishing right and wrong, linking up China and the outside world, and communicating with the world. To bear these responsibilities and missions, they must put their political orientation first, grasp the principle of the Party, firmly persist in the Marxist view of news, firmly persist in the correct political orientation, and firmly persist in putting positive propaganda first.
Xi Jinping stressed that Party news and public opinion work persists in the principle of the Party nature, which at its most fundamental level means upholding Party leadership over news and public opinion work. The media run by the Party and government are the propaganda battlefields of the Party and government, and must be surnamed Party. All the work of the Party’s news and public opinion media must embody the Party’s will, reflect the Party’s standpoint, safeguard the authority of the Party Centre, safeguard Party unity, and must love the Party, uphold the Party and be fore the sake of the Party; it is necessary to strengthen a mentality of emulation, and to maintain a high degree of consistency with the Party Centre in terms of ideology, politics and conduct; it is necessary to persist in the unity of the Party nature and the people’s nature, and turn the Party’s theories, line, principles and policies into the conscious behaviour of the popular masses, timely reflect the creative experience of the popular masses and the real circumstances they face, enrich the people’s spiritual world, and strengthen the people’s spiritual forces. The view of news is the spirit of news and public opinion work. We must deeply launch education on the Marxist view of news, guide the broad news and public opinion workers to be the disseminators of the Party’s policies and standpoints, the recorders of the winds and clouds of the times, the promoters of social progress, and the warders of fairness and justice.
Xi Jinping pointed out that the correct public opinion orientation must be upheld in all areas and all segments news and public opinion work. All levels’ Party newspapers and Party periodicals, radio and television stations must stress the orientation, metropolitan newspapers and new media must also stress the orientation; news reports must stress the orientation, supplements, special feature programmes and advertising must also stress the orientation; the orientation must be stressed in current affairs and news, the orientation must also be stressed in entertainment and social news; the orientation must be stressed in domestic news reports, the orientation must also be stressed in international news reports.
Xi Jinping stressed that unity, stability, encouragement and putting positive propaganda first are the basic principles that must be followed in news and public opinion work. To do positive propaganda well, attraction and infectiousness must be strengthened. Truthfulness is the lifeblood of news. We must describe reality on the basis of reality, both accurately report on specific matters and grasp and reflect the full picture of events or things at a macro level. Public opinion supervision and positive propaganda are one. News media must directly face up to problems existing in their work, directly face vile social phenomena, eliminate the bad and exalt the good, remonstrate against the problems of the times, and at the same time public critical reports, in which facts must be accurate and analysis objective.
Xi Jinping pointed out that, following the development of circumstances, the Party’s news and public opinion work must innovate ideas, content, carriers, forms, methods, means, business models, structures and mechanisms, and strengthen its focus and efficacy. It must suit to the communication trends of audience division and differentiation, and accelerate the building of a new structure for public opinion guidance. It must promote converged development, and actively draw support from new media communication superiorities. We must grasp the opportunities of the times, grasp the rhythm, pay attention to tactics, put forth efforts with regard to timeliness, degree and efficacy, and reflect the demands of timeliness, degree and efficacy. We must strengthen the construction of international communication capabilities, strengthen international discourse power, concentrate on telling China’s story well, and at the same time optimize strategic deployments, and strive to forge foreign propaganda flagship media with relatively strong international influence.
Xi Jinping stressed that media competition concerns talent competition, and the core of media superiority is talent superiority. We must accelerate fostering and bringing up a line of news and public opinion work teams with firm politics, exquisite professionalism, a good work style, in whom the Party and the people can put their trust. News and public opinion workers must strengthen the consciousness that politicians run newspapers, seek firm coordinates and orientations in focusing on the Centre and serving the bigger picture, keep their social responsibility firmly in mind, and incessantly resolve well this fundamental question of “for whose sake, relying on whom, who am I?” They must raise their professional capabilities, study diligently and train often, and strive to become all-media, expert talents. They must transform their work styles into their writing styles, bow their bodies, be humble at heart, observe actual circumstances, speak the truth, move true feelings, and strive to produce works that have ideology, temperature and quality. We they must put strict demands upon themselves, strengthen their moral cultivation, and maintain a healthy atmosphere within themselves. We must deepen the reform of cadre and human resource structures within news work units, fully trust news and public opinion workers in terms of politics, boldly use them in work, sincerely be concerned about them in life, and timely provide guarantees in terms of remuneration.
Xi Jinping pointed out that strengthening and improving Party leadership over news and public opinion work is the fundamental guarantee for the smooth and healthy development of news and public opinion work. All levels’ Party Committees must consciously take up their political responsibility and leadership responsibility. Leading cadres must strengthen their ability to interact with media, and be good at using the media to propagate policy standpoints, understand social circumstances and the popular will, discover contradictions and problems, guide social emotions, mobilize the popular masses, and promote concrete work.
Wang Huning, Liu Yandong, Liu Qibao, Li Zhanshu and responsible comrades from relevant Central departments respectively accompanied the investigation and research visits and the Conference. Responsible comrades from Central news and public opinion work unit, responsible comrades from relevant sides in Beijing municipality, and about 18 editors and journalists representing Central news work units attended the conference.