Anhui Province Communist Party General Secretary Wang Jinshan gave the following speech after he had received a report on propaganda and ideological works at a recent Provincial Party Committee’s standing committee meeting. The title of his speech was “To get a grip on public opinion in order to gain developmental initiatives”. The speech appeared later at the Chinaelections.org website. It was met with some really harsh criticisms. Do you think General Secretary Wang deserves to be chastised over his speech?
Here is my translation and you can decide for yourselves:
We can certainly improve our productivity with our propaganda and ideological works. We are at the moment confronted with a new situation. When we are overwhelmed with information, whom should we trust? Who will be able to get to the truth and clarify the fact? How can we make people feel what we say is correct and not misleading? These questions all boil down to a single answer: we must get a grip on public opinion so that we can gain control over developmental initiatives.
Propaganda and ideological works have always been important. Our ability to occupy the propaganda battle ground will, in a sense, allow us to take a commanding position in the battle for development. When propaganda work is done properly, it will allow us to guide people’s thoughts, to win their hearts and consequently to improve our productivity. Right now as we are promoting scientific innovations as a way of speeding up the rise of Anhui Province, we urgently need to inspire morale, to enhance confidence, and to forge a strong atmosphere of unity between the government and the people, so that we can strive together to achieve our developmental goals. We desperately need to consolidate our effort to grasp the opportunity for promoting development. All these will demand us to set a much higher standard for our propaganda and ideological work.
At the moment, there is no denial that we are facing a completely new situation. What kind of situation would that be? It involves the incessant emerging of new phenomena, the continuous improvement in new media and the forever changing new ideological trends. All these are posing serious challenges to our propaganda and ideological works. Last year, we excelled ourselves in propaganda works: we performed outstandingly and effectively. The next step requires us to build on our achievement to arrive at a new breakthrough. What kind of breakthrough would that be? We have to speak more often. That will include much more work for our leading cadres. From what I can see, the most important task is to work hard at improving the way we guide public opinion, to continue to make positive, healthy and upbeat mainstream public opinion more influential, and to promote social stability and economic development. We must firmly grasp the correct guidelines. We must insist on the spirit of unity and stability. We must give priority to positive propaganda. In that way we can improve the way we guide public opinion, to make it more convincing, more trustworthy and more influential. We need to make further progress in publicising our main projects and our model projects. We need to work hard at correctly guiding the way hot topics are discussed. We must further improve the mechanism through which breaking news on emergencies of public interest can be reported timely, accurately and transparently. We will make sure that all important issues are covered, so that we will not be silent at crucial moments, and that we will take a command position in the control of public opinion. These boil down to one point: we must get a grip on public opinion so that we can gain control over developmental initiatives.
Earlier when we discussed our political and legal tasks, we had a feeling that the situation had become really complicated in recent years. For our society as a whole, we must insist on using propaganda and main stream media to provide an answer to questions such as: How complex is the situation? When we are overwhelmed with information, whom should we trust? Who will be able to get to the truth and clarify the fact? How can we make people feel what we say is correct and not misleading? From a broader perspective, we must make sure that we are not treading the old and evil path. We must make sure that we stick to the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics. To be successful, we must think carefully, handle our tasks seriously and work diligently.
Dear readers, you have to give me credit for ploughing through this pile of ideological mumble jumble in such a thorough manner. I did that for two reasons: (1) so that we can have a better understanding of the quality of governance at provincial China; (2) most importantly, it allows us to see how the CCP central propaganda department’s policies are interpreted by its local party officials.
I desperately need some fresh air right now. I’ll post my translation of the comments in the next day or so.