Skip to content

Li Changchun: Build a Modern Communication System to Improve Domestic and International Capability

Li Changchun, the fifth highest ranking official on the CCP’s Standing Committee of the Politburo and the party’s propaganda czar, gave a lengthy speech at CCTV’s (China Central Television) 50th anniversary celebration on December 20, 2008. The speech highlighted the expansion of Chinese media by “strengthening the construction of foreign language international channels, expanding into other major foreign television sectors, vigorously promoting the localization our media overseas so that our images and voices can be more widely spread around the world and into tens of thousands of households.” The following is a translation of excerpts of the speech.

Speaking at the Conference on 50th anniversary of CCTV

(December 20, 2008)

Li Changchun

… …

The Central Committee and State Council always pay extra attention to the development of the television industry as well as the work of China Central Television. Over the past 50 years, especially since the beginning of the reform and opening up period, under the care and direct leadership of the Central Committee and State Council, our television industry has grown from nothing, from small to large in scale and gone from domestic to international. It grew and advanced during difficult times and faced sharp competition while still exploring opportunities and undergoing reforms. Our communication technology is constantly advancing and the contents are becoming more and more diversified with broader coverage. It is growing stronger in its overall capacity. It has played an irreplaceable role in promoting the development of our Party and the country.

This year (2008) … is an unusual year for our country’s economic and social development. We have had many significant events, along with sad as well as happy events. They include the Party’s 17th National Congress, the third Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee, the fights against natural disasters such as the freezing temperature, rain and snow [in Guangdong around Chinese new year]; safeguarding social stability in Tibet, earthquake relief, the Beijing Olympic and Paralympics games, the successful completion of Shenzhou VII manned space mission, the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of reforms and opening up, coping with the international financial crisis and other major reporting assignments. The television crews overcame many difficulties and dangerous challenges. They worked tirelessly to successfully finish various assignments. They have made significant contributions and effectively guided public opinion. They have greatly inspired our nation’s spirit, united the Party and the people, and made a significant contribution toward the cause that the Party and people try to achieve. It has proved that our country’s television workers have high political integrity, professional ability, discipline, constraint. They are a top-quality team. They are a strong team of dedicated workers who can jump start at any critical time and can endure hardship. They are an excellent team that the Party and the people can fully rely on. The Party and the people thank you!

Standing at a new historical starting point, our television industry still has a significant historical responsibility to take while facing limited opportunities to grow. We must conscientiously study and implement the speech by Hu Jintao in commemorating the 30-year anniversary of Party’s Third Plenary Session of the General Assembly and follow the requirements within the congratulatory letter from Party Chief Hu Jintao: to adapt to the latest social developments domestically and abroad, let the development of science be the driving force and take the improvement of telecommunication technology as a critical strategic task that needs to be implemented; put more effort in building a modern telecommunication network and focus on improving the ability for the media to lead public opinion, to build a world-class image and put effort in the most up-to-date media networks and strive to improve television work to a new level.

1, we need to get a clear assessment of the situation and clearly define our objectives, and build a sense of responsibility and urgency to strengthen our telecommunication capabilities domestically and internationally. The power of communication determines one’s influential ability. Today, whoever advances in telecommunication ability and technology will be able to influence the world with their cultural beliefs and values, hence exercising stronger influence in other countries. Strengthening domestic and international telecommunications has a direct impact on our open door reform climate, as well as modernization as a nation. It is related to our influence worldwide, as well as affecting our status in the world. It is connected to enhancing our cultural soft power as well as our ranking and power in the world’s media network. We must further strengthen the sense of responsibility and mission. We should focus on strengthening our domestic and international telecommunication capacity and take those as the next major goals to be accomplished. Let’s continue to finish the “New West Project” which will ensure radio and television coverage in every village. Let’s put more effort into studying and formulating the overall strategy for shaping CCTV as well as other state media to be world-class media domestically and internationally so they are compatible with our economic image. Let’s enhance their competitive advantage and influence so they will provide media support to our country’s open door reforms as well as other modernization developments.

2, Let’s be persistent in offering positive guidance of public opinion, and always maintain a solid political ground. Truthfulness is vital for a media and providing guidance is the soul. We should always adhere to be the mouthpiece for the Party and the people, hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, take Deng Xiaoping’s Theory and the “Three Represents” as our guidance, and implement in-depth the concept of scientific development. We must consciously align with the Party Central Committee, firmly grasp the correct political ground in terms of ideology and our actions. Television stations at all levels are an important cultural and public opinion battlefield for the Party and our country. It is necessary to bear in mind the important statements made by General Secretary Hu Jintao “correct guidance of public opinion will assist the Party, state, and the people; incorrect media guidance will damage the Party, the state, and the people.” We must always insist on unity, stability, positive propaganda around the overall situation, to serve the people, vigorously singing the main theme of the era, actively disseminate advanced socialist culture, and constantly strengthen the positive and healthy growth of the mainstream public opinion. We need to vigorously disseminate the Party’s ideas, to reflect the people’s will, to bridge the communication between the Party and government with the people. We need to enhance political awareness, awareness of the overall situation, sense of responsibility, battlefield awareness, and strengthen political sensitivity and discernment, and firmly establish the Marxist concept of news reporting and remain sober and firm on issues involving political directions, and Party and state affairs. We need to constantly improve our judgment on major critical issues, sensitive questions in complex situations, and provide the correct guidance of public opinion.

3, Let’s be persistent in reform and innovation, and speed up in building an extensive and technologically advanced modern media system. Reform and innovation are the driving force for the advancement of the telecommunications industry. We need to adapt to the latest features and requirements during ongoing globalization; information and public dissemination; keep on exploring and innovating; insist on promoting innovative initiatives and speed up the implementation to focus on the integration of the conventional media and newr media, switch our focus from domestic-oriented to both domestic and international; to build an extensive, technologically advanced modern media system. To enhance the awareness of independent innovation and strive to create a group of original programs to further enhance our country’s competitive influence in the domestic and international television network. We need to speed up the “expansion internationally” by strengthening the construction of foreign language international channels, expanding into other major foreign television sectors, vigorously promoting the localization of our media overseas so that our images and voices can be more widely spread around the world and into tens of thousands of households. We need to further build online television programs, accelerate the formation of a national-level television network equipped with international and domestic influence; build network television programs and enhance interaction to attract vast numbers of Internet users to upload and download healthy lively videos; to maximize the influence of mainstream media and grow the market share in the online video industry. We need to fully adopt and utilize the latest Internet technology and actively invest in research and development for our own network communication technology; to promote network television and mobile TV, car TV, public giant television, and expand network television coverage; to deepen reforms in the cultural and entertainment industry and further grow the cultural influence. We should deepen the reform of internal mechanisms, integration of existing resources, and improve management skills to promote labor, personnel, job assignment system reforms, and to encourage employees’ creativity and self-development.

4, We need to stick to the “Three Close Approach” principles to continually elevate our ability for guarding public opinion and spreading the “advanced culture.” Maintaining a close approach to reality, life, and the populace is the cardinal principle from the central committee since the 16th Party Congress for propaganda, ideology, and cultural work. It is the inevitable requirement for the work of television to thoroughly implement and realize the concept of scientific development. … In the event of major domestic and foreign incidents, we must insist on reporting with prompt accuracy and open transparency, and strive to be the first to speak out our voice, disseminate our viewpoints, win the power of words, and take control of the initiatives. We must unceasingly strengthen the credibility and influence of our country’s mainstream media. We need to perform  research on overseas audiences [to understand] their psychological characteristics and acceptance customs in order to produce works that closely follow the practicality of the development of China and the world, the demand of information about China, and the thinking behaviors of overseas audiences. We must use the skills of modern dissemination with the methods and languages that are understood and easily acceptable by the foreign audiences in order to strive for the improvement of originality, being the first to report, and the landing rate to strengthen the attractiveness and influence of our overseas propaganda. We need to deliver more artistic and theatrical works that are welcomed by domestic and foreign audiences to maximally satisfy the ever increasing cultural needs of the people. This is to make a new contribution to the big development and the great prosperity of the socialist culture.

5, We need to strengthen the development of qualified personnel and strive to create a high skill-level of television workers. We need to increase training of those middle-aged and young professional talents; to take various measures to train a large number of journalists, editors, and broadcasters, a group that are proficient in the television business, proficient in foreign languages, especially those reporters stationed in foreign countries who are familiar with the Party and state policies, to understand media operations and management, the talents who are the masterminds behind television, the latest network communication technologies. Vast numbers of television personnel must be firm in their ideals and faith, consciously apply the socialist theoretical system with Chinese characteristics, inherit and carry forward the fine tradition of senior television workers, and strive to make a first class performance that is worthy of the Party, worthy of the people, worthy of the times.

We are in the new era of renewal of the Chinese nation. The future of Chinese Central Television is promising, very promising. The vast majority of television workers are uniting more closely with Comrade Hu Jintao as general secretary, holding high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, taking Deng Xiaoping’s Theory and the “Three Represents” as the guide, adopting deeper implementation of the scientific development concept, further promoting the cause of our country’s prosperity and the development of television, and letting the Party and the government spread the voice to millions of households, putting the voice of China to all parts of the world. We are making great contributions to achieve a well-off society and the great rejuvenation of China!

Source: Guangmin Daily, December 23, 2008