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Qiushi on Managing Intellectuals in Order to Control Their Understanding of Ideology

[Editor’s Note: Qiushi published an article on how to manage China’s intellectuals so that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can maintain firm control over people’s thoughts. The article suggested focusing on those intellectuals who are opinion-leaders and who are able to influence people’s viewpoints. It proposed establishing a good relationship with them, absorbing them into the Party, appealing to them with patriotism, or, if their viewpoints are the opposite of the Party’s, just taking them down. The following is a translation of excerpts from the article.] [1]

Intellectuals are a unique group. They specialize in developing knowledge and in the production and dissemination of cultural and spiritual materials. As higher education has become more popular in China, this group has continued to grow larger in membership. The number of teachers (at all levels) has even reached 10 million.

In the past few years, some new situations have developed among intellectuals. Because the market economy, the Internet, and other new media have influenced them, many intellectuals have developed diversified viewpoints, different value systems, self-awareness, and strong individualism. This situation has produced many “opinion-leaders” and “media intellectuals (public intellectuals)” who have a large influence and a large drawing appeal over the public. Some have gradually departed politically from the Party and the government. A few have even gone in the opposite direction from the Party and the government. In the Party’s endeavors, developing ideology, strengthening the [Party’s] work over intellectuals, and proactively developing socialist intellectual elites has become a critical task.

I. Developing Socialist Intellectuals

For the intellectual community, the most important thing is to unite them [around the Party] and apply leadership, especially political leadership, to them.

We should make the maximum effort to unite the intellectuals around the Party. We need to adopt the philosophy of “respecting differences and tolerating diversity,” make friends with them, help them solve practical problems, and create a good work and living environment for them. The best way to unite intellectuals is to respect their creative work. We need to try our best to create opportunities to let them make use of their capabilities.

Uniting them does not mean giving up our principles and allowing them to do whatever they want. We need to lead them steadily on the concepts of ideology and values:

First, we should conduct broad-scale education on Marxist ideology and values. Because of the current problems, many intellectuals like delivering criticism and challenging the authorities. If they take a wrong stand, it will create chaos. If they can follow Marxist theory and give constructive criticism, they become China’s greatly-needed intellectuals who will lead the public with ideas that are along the Party line.

Second, we need to make sure those intellectuals all develop the same understanding of ideology and values. For intellectuals in any field, any industry, and any organization, we need to adopt multiple approaches to make sure their belief in socialism with Chinese characteristics, in the Party, and in the government is firm.

Third, we need to expand the Party organization more widely among intellectuals. We need to proactively develop those intellectuals who want to join the Party. We need to exert more effort to bring excellent intellectuals, especially the young intellectuals, into the Party. We also need to leverage the Party organization’s political and organizational advantages, and to strengthen its connection with intellectuals who are not Party members.

Therefore, we need to be proactive in implementing the strategic idea that “human resources are the number one resource,” along with a number of human resource policies. This will enable us to produce a large group of Marxist theorists, writers, artists, educators, scientists, and media workers who have a substantial social influence and appeal. These intellectual elites share the same fate with our socialist undertaking and the Party. They are the foundation on which to increase the Party’s leadership over ideology.

II. Taking Care of “Special” Intellectuals

In the past few years, a group of intellectuals has emerged who are independent [from the Party]. Their values and behavior tend to be apolitical, non-main stream, or even anti-main stream. They also show strong caring for society and a strong spirit of criticism and participation. They have frequently appeared before the public and in Internet space. They have a wide and increasing social influence.

In general, we need to focus on uniting most of them and obtaining leadership [over them] and discourse power. We can achieve that goal via dialog, competition, or even “struggle.” Being the leader in ideology is not simply implemented by having the state machine force it on people’s minds. Only when the general public, including the intellectuals, willingly acknowledge and accept it, can the leadership be well established. In essence, this establishment process is a process of “struggling for discourse power.” It requires us to use dialog, exchanges, and especially “struggle,” for the Party to realize its “leadership.”

To do the work over the “special intellectuals” well, not only do we need to be good at leading them and dare to lead them; we also need to manage them by putting them into different classifications. We must tightly hold the power to oversee ideology. We need to track their thoughts, analyze the individual and social reasons for them to have formed their thoughts, and understand their points and requests. On that basis, we can classify them, apply leadership on specific issues, and divide them into different groups for effective management.

First, we need to treat the Party member intellectuals and non-Party member intellectuals differently. For Party members, we need to educate them on the Party’s nature and strengthen their study of the theories of Marxism and the socialist path with Chinese characteristics. For non-Party members, we need to strengthen their education in patriotism, enhance their recognition of the law and of social responsibility, and gradually make the main stream ideas their ideas.

Second, we need to treat intellectuals in different fields differently. For intellectuals who are not strongly associated with ideology (e.g. doctors), we can spend regular efforts. For intellectuals who are active in political affairs, social hot issues, and other public fields, we need to focus on developing our leadership over them.

Third, we need to treat the intellectuals who have different degrees of influence over people differently. For those experts in the “red area” (who share the Party’s ideology), we need to encourage and fully utilize their influence over public opinion. For those in the “gray area,” we need to show respect; if they have confused understanding [over an issue], we need to use Marxist theory and apply thorough political work to educate them, to prevent them from switching to the opposite side [from the Party]. For those in the “black area” (who mainly spread negative opinions on the Internet and in society), we must confront them and push them to change their position. We need to leverage the law to restrain them and be resolute in not letting them do whatever they want to do.

[1] Qiushi, “Strengthen the Party’s Leadership over Intellectuals and Ideology,” March 7, 2014.