Sunday, November 10, 2013

Translation into English of CCP's: "Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere"

I have been considering some of the issues likely to arise during the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress. (e.g., Gearing Up for the 3rd Plenum of the Central Committee of the 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress, Oct. 24, 2013;  Considering the Central Committee Politburo Meeting Pointing to the November 2013 Central Committee 3rd Plenum, Sept. 9, 2013).

 (Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2013)

It is likely that much effort will be devoted to ideological work.  Much of that effort will likely be misinterpreted outside of China precisely because Chinese politics tends to be interpreted through the assumptions and perspectives of other political cultures. , and that effort will likely be misinterpreted outside of China.  Those misinterpretations will be costly to those states and non-state actors who will press on oblivious to the changing realities within China. 

One potentially important marker of the context within which this ideological work will be elaborated is the so-called Document 9, "Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere."  Now the editors of China File have posted an English translation of this Communiqué which may be accessed from their website as HERE as "Document 9: A ChinaFile Translation: How Much Is a Hardline Party Directive Shaping China’s Current Political Climate?" (The Editors; 11.08.13).

This from the introduction provided by the editors of China File:
Mingjing Magazine, a U.S.-based Chinese-language magazine, obtained and published the full text of the document in September 2013 in print. We are confident it is authentic and translate and re-publish it here with Mingjing’s permission. To skip the communiqué’s wordy preamble and go straight to its key sections click here.
Set out below is a list of the Sectrion titles of Document 9:


Noteworthy Problems Related to the Current State of the Ideological Sphere.

1. Promoting Western Constitutional Democracy: An attempt to undermine the current leadership and the socialism with Chinese characteristics system of governance.
2. Promoting “universal values” in an attempt to weaken the theoretical foundations of the Party’s leadership.
3. Promoting civil society in an attempt to dismantle the ruling party’s social foundation.
4. Promoting Neoliberalism, attempting to change China’s Basic Economic System.
5. Promoting the West’s idea of journalism, challenging China’s principle that the media and publishing system should be subject to Party discipline.
6. Promoting historical nihilism, trying to undermine the history of the CCP and of New China.
7. Questioning Reform and Opening and the socialist nature of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Pay Close Attention to Work in the Ideological Sphere.

1. Strengthen leadership in the ideological sphere.

2. Guide our party member and leaders to distinguish between true and false theories.

3. Unwavering adherence to the principle of the Party’s control of media.

4. Conscientiously strengthen management of the ideological battlefield.
Despite some potential protestations to the contrary, it is not clear if there are any surprises here.  The CCP has been inching in this direction for a number of years, it is just that the West has failed to listen, or has chosen to focus on what it desired instead of the emerging realities before it. And, indeed, to some extent, this is a position the West helped create as well--a generation of regime changing ideological hardline adventures from a Republic once known for its pragmatism grounded in its own political convictions--cannot be surprised when its political rhetoric, critical of the legitimacy of a state rapidly ascending the ranks of global power, promotes the object of that rhetoric to look more closely to its organization and to the foundations of its legitimacy.  Whether the implementation path the CCP will adopt and hinted at in Document 9 will be effective remains to be seen.  Whether this approach to implementation accords with the basic political lines of the CCP (the mass line, the people's democratic dictatorship, the leadership role of the CCP, the administrative character of the state, etc.), however, might well be debated, especially within the CCP during its 3rd Plenum.

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