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Li Changchun’s Speech at the Award Ceremony on the 10th China Journalist’s Day

Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, attended the award ceremony on the 10th China Journalist’s Day on November 8, 2009. The complete speech he gave was published on People’s Daily on November 9, 2009 [1]. He summarized six major aspects of the Chinese journalists’ experiences in exploring new thinking, new channels, and new methods under China’s current stage of development. He also pointed out work in certain areas that journalists must do well, in the face of new circumstance and new tasks. The following is a summary of Li’s speech.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the new China. We have successfully held a series of celebration activities such as a grand celebration gathering, a ceremonial military parade, a public parade, and an evening gala. These fully manifested the great achievements of these 60 years, especially the achievements after the ‘reform and opening up’ policy… It greatly inspired the party, the army, and the people, and greatly enhanced the self-confidence and national pride of the Chinese people at home and abroad… Our news front made meticulous plans and undertook painstaking efforts to launch a diverse and colorful series of news reports on it. They broadcasted the grand ceremonies and the joyful scene of the entire country, ringing in the main theme of ‘the communist party is good, socialism is good, the reform and opening up policy is good, our motherland is good, and people of all ethnic groups are good’ into every household.

In the past 60 years, the news industry has played an important role in our party’s effort to lead people of all ethnic groups in the socialist revolution and to develop and conduct the reform and opening up policy and socialist modernization… Since the 16th National Congress of the CPC, a great number of journalists are upholding a strong sense of mission and responsibility. They have promoted in depth the systematic theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the great achievements of the reform and opening up policy, socialist modernization development, and the role-model stories of our cadres and the people forging ahead in unity. Specifically, journalists have created a good public opinion atmosphere for us to unfold a series of important events, conquer a series of major natural catastrophes, and handle a series of major sudden incidents, making a positive contribution to the stability and development of society. Journalists have demonstrated their firm love for the party and our country with their concrete conduct… It has been proven that our journalists are a professional team with a strong political sense, good professional skills, strict discipline, and a strong-will. It is a team that the party and the people can fully trust.

In the past 60 glorious years, the news front inherited and advanced the party’s good traditions in the media and propaganda work… (You journalists) have well fulfilled the glorious responsibility endowed upon you by the party and the people, developed a new (favorable) work environment, and accumulated many valuable experiences.
“The first is to stick to the fundamental principle of following the party’s spirit, always remaining in line with the Central Committee, firmly establishing the sense of politics, the big picture, responsibility, and the battle field, and continually strengthening political acumen and political discernment, to ensure that news reporting and propaganda work are always on the right track.

The second is to place the correct direction as the foremost priority and focus on encouraging unity and stability and providing positive propaganda… Serve the bigger perspective, sing along the main theme, and actively fight the battle (in the media)… Do well in the reporting of major sudden incidents and in guiding public opinion… Make sure that the media and propaganda work play an active role in strengthening the ideological foundation for the unity and progress of the whole party and the entire nation and in advancing the sound and fast development of the economic society.

The third is to stick to the principle of ‘people foremost,’ getting closer to reality, to daily life, and to the public. Integrate the party’s directives and people’s voices together, integrate the insistence on correctly guiding public opinion and accommodating public feelings together, and integrate the aspect of focusing on positive propaganda and the aspect of strengthening and improving public opinion to monitor the government.

The fourth is to strategically manipulate the two realms – domestic and international, strengthening the coordination and cooperation of propaganda internally and overseas, actively making ourselves a world-class media, constructing an extensive and technologically advanced broadcasting system, making efforts to form an international broadcast capability that is on par with our economic and societal development and our international status. Grab the speaking power (the preemptive position to define major issues) and enhance our international influence, so as to create a good international environment of public opinion for our socialist modernization cause.

The fifth is to stick to reform and renovation… (Our journalists should) be good at making use of modern technology to promulgate mainstream opinion and actively occupy the Internet as a new public opinion battle ground, to make the media and propaganda work better to reflect our current time and trends and to be more creative.

The sixth is to strengthen and improve the party’s leadership in media and propaganda work, and develop cadres and professionals on the news front. Insist on the principles of the party being in charge of the media and the party being in charge of the cadres, making sure that the leadership of the media and propaganda work is firmly gripped in the hands of those who are loyal to the party and to the people. Educate and nurture a large group of excellent media professionals, providing a strong political and organizational guarantee for the healthy development of media and propaganda work.

These experiences have represented the important principles and recipes for success in our party’s leading media and propaganda work over the past 60 years. They have manifested the fundamental character and the inherent requirements for socialist media work… They are precious spiritual assets for our future work. We must stick to these experiences, greatly promote them, and continuously enrich and develop them in practice as well.

The entire party and Chinese people of all ethnic groups are closely united around the Central Committee with comrade Hu Jintao as the secretary general, fully implementing the guiding policies from the 17th National Congress of the CPC, and the Third and Fourth Plenary Sessions of the 17th National Congress… We continuously open up a new page in socialism with Chinese characteristics. In the face of new circumstances and the new tasks, the news front is shouldering an important responsibility and a glorious mission. We must consciously… follow the requirements of upholding the (communist) flag, concentrating on the bigger perspective, serving the people, and sticking to reforming and innovating, … to effectively carry out of the propaganda of the party’s ideas. … We should guide the direction of society’s hot topics, soothe public sentiment, and control the public voice and public opinion. We must put efforts into unifying thoughts, pulling different resources together, and boosting morale, to provide a strong spiritual momentum and public opinion support for the next stage of our socialism with Chinese characteristics. Presently, we must do well in the following aspects:

1. Persevere in arming the entire party and educating the people with the “socialism with Chinese characteristics” theory to continuously strengthen the ideological foundation for the unity and advancement of the entire party and Chinese people of all ethnic groups. It is an important mission for media and propaganda work to promulgate in-depth the party’s theories and guiding policies and to help the public to master and use them. We must make it the top priority to arm the entire party and educate the people with the “socialism with Chinese characteristics” theory. We must extensively carry out promotional and promulgation activities and make an immense effort to promote the importance, the historical background, the profound meaning, the practical basis, and the historical position of the “socialism with Chinese characteristics” theory. Guide people to uphold the great banner of “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” to stay firm on the path of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and to stay firm in our belief in “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

2. Intimately focus on the central point of economic development as we conduct media and propaganda work, to provide a powerful support in public opinion for the fast and sound development of the economy and society. Do well the propaganda work for the economic situation and economic development and explain in detail the major policies from the central government, to provide strong public opinion support for advancing the fast and sound development of the economy and society.

3. Strengthen the propaganda of the socialist core value system and continuously strengthen mainstream public opinion. We should implement the requirements of the socialist core value system in all aspects of media and propaganda work; reflect the effective methods in different regions and in different organizations in the development of the socialist core value system; and create a good public opinion atmosphere favorable for the development of the socialist core value system.

4. Strengthen the guiding power on issues such as the people’s livelihood and other hot topics. We must create a favorable public opinion environment to maintain social stability and improve social harmony. Reflecting community sentiments and people’s voices as well as guiding public opinion on hot topics are the keys for media and propaganda work to be the bridge connecting the party and the people… Give clear expositions and explanations of the party’s and the government’s policies and decisions… Guide people to correctly handle the relationship between present-day interests and long-term interests… Do well in reporting sudden incidents while guiding public opinion in the correct direction and be the first one to publish authoritative information. Seize opportunities and gain the initiative to provide public opinion support for the appropriate handling of major sudden events. Strengthen and improve the control of public opinion… We must further enhance people’s trust in the party and the government.

5. Strategically handle domestic and international situations, strengthen and improve foreign propaganda work, and make an effort to create an objective, friendly, and favorable environment in international society. Creating this favorable international environment is an important and urgent task required from our media and propaganda work as our economy and society advance rapidly, we continue to open up more widely, and our international status keeps improving… We must improve our cooperation and sharing with foreign media in news broadcasting, human resources, information technology, and business. We must learn to take advantage of foreign resources for our purpose, and to use their platform to broadcast our news… We must increase the international impact of our media and propaganda, by reporting from China’s angle and making the voice of China heard.

The multitude of journalists must improve their own political ideological levels and professional skills. I would like to take this opportunity to list a few wishes for you.

First, continuously improve our ability to change our subjective world and become a new era journalist that our party will be rest assured with and our people will be satisfied with… Journalists must pay high attention to changing the subjective world. We must always improve our realm of mind amidst the great practice of changing the objective world. We must stay firm in our belief and our goals. We must be loyal to the cause of our party and the people. We must stay firm in executing the party’s basic policy and lines, continuously strengthen our consciousness and firmness in walking on the socialist path with Chinese characteristics, and be a firm believer and loyal advocate of the great goal of communism and socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Second, we must continuously improve our ability to guide public opinion and contribute to creating a positive mainstream public opinion. All journalists must remember that ‘the correct guidance/direction of public opinion is a blessing for the party and the people; a wrong guidance/direction of public opinion is a disaster for the party and the people.’ ‘A correct guidance of public opinion benefits the party, the country, and the people; a wrong guidance of public opinion harms the party, the country, and the people.’ In media and propaganda work, we must always stay in the same line with the Central Committee with comrade Hu Jintao as the general secretary. We should stay with the principle of focusing on the central point, serving the big perspective, and always making it a top priority to insist on the right direction for public opinion. 

Third, continue to increase our ability to reform and innovate and make an effort to open up a new page in media and propaganda work. All journalists must accurately grasp the new changes domestically and internationally and accurately grasp the new trend in media and propaganda work… Make sure our authoritative reports guide public opinion in the right direction and timely and accurately meet the people’s information requirements.

Fourth, we must continue to improve our skill to use the new type of media, and become a skillful professional in media and propaganda work in the information age. Journalists should learn the rules and the art of news propagation in today’s information age, and be skillful at new types of media, such as the Internet and cell phone. We must actively guide public opinion over the Internet and pay close attention to public sentiment and opinion on the Internet, timely detect problem trends on the Internet, frequently publish commentary articles on the Internet addressing issues that most concern Internet users, and participate in online discussions and forums to form a positive public opinion on the Internet.

Fifth, we must continuously improve our learning ability to improve our ideological qualities and professional qualities. Journalists must earnestly study the main theme of the Fourth Plenary Sessions of the 17th National Congress of the CPC and make it an important and urgent task to improve our learning ability. We must go deep in our study of Marxism, Leninism, Mao Zedong Thoughts, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the ‘Three Represents’ ideology, and the scientific outlook on development, work hard to grasp the socialism with Chinese characteristics theory, and continue to improve our theoretical knowledge and ideological and political qualities. We must study earnestly to understand the party’s guiding policies and our state laws and rules, and consciously implement them in our news reporting.”

[1] People’s Daily Website, November 9, 2009