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China Embarks on Campaign to Improve Party Image

China News Digest 11 June 2001

[CND, 05/11/01] The Chinese state propaganda machine will begin an intensive campaign later this month intended to improve the image of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), in advance of the CCP's 80th anniversary celebrations on July 1, the South China Morning Post reported.

Authorities also plan to increase media censorship, to extend control over domestic publications that do not keep to the party line.

During an internal meeting for state media bosses and publicity chiefs held recently, state broadcasters informed that they must broadcast a series of domestic television dramas focused on praising the greatness of the Communist Party, socialism and the open-door policy - the so-called Three Greatnesses.

These domestic propaganda programs will displace popular imported TV dramas.

Anonymous Beijing sources have stated that the campaign will focus on the reform and economic achievements under the Communist Party's leadership, selective periods of party history and party construction theory for the new era.

In preparation for the campaign, official news organisations have developed a series of articles on President JIANG Zemin's Theory of Three Representatives. First broached early last year, this theory argues that the party must be representative of the most advanced production forces and the most advanced culture.

Analysts expect that Mr Jiang will expand upon his theory in his July 1 keynote speech.

The CCP's Maoist wing has criticized the Theory of the Three Representatives, arguing that it could make it possible for capitalists and the bourgeoisie to enter the Communist Party. Intellectuals are cautiously positive about the theory, hoping that it may make possible further political and constitutional reform.

On the 80 years of party history, the focus will be on the later 50 years with special emphasis on China's opening, reform and economic achievements, said a senior official of a state news organisation.

For the first 30 years of the party's history, state media organisations are asked to stress the achievements of 'removing three big mountains' which refers to the abolition of imperialism, bureaucratic-capitalism and feudalism but are to avoid the 10-year Cultural Revolution chaos. The propaganda campaign is also intended at raising Mr Jiang's status so that it is comparable to that of late leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

Beijing sources noted Mr Jiang still hoped to prove that the party has made great strides in combating corruption and reinvigorating the CCP leadership, and has the potential that to lead the country to greater glory in its next 80 years.

Beijing hopes to use the party's 80th anniversary as a means to consolidate communist rule and pave the way for next year's major leadership reshuffle at the 16th Communist Party Congress.

The propaganda campaign is also a attempt to increase public support after a recent series of corruption scandals. (Laurel Mittenthal)