In the past year, the four Chinese characters “jie fang si xiang” or” emancipation of the mind” has repeatedly appeared in important places on government documents. The media as well as the general public are still fumbling for the real reasons behind the use of these words. Here, we provide translated excerpts from two articles appearing in mainland media.
Nanfang Weekend, January 17, “Party think tank calls for ‘emancipation of mind’”
“After the 17th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (NCCCP), party and administrative leadership at the provincial level have widely used this term. They include the new Shanghai party chief, Yu Zhengsheng, Chongqing party chief, Bo Xilai. The new party chief of Guangdong Province, Wang Yang, has drawn the most attention from media. Wang gave his famous talk in the southern province, calling for “a new round of emancipation of mind.”
If you think that use of this term is a regional phenomenon, you may be underestimating the size of the wave. While people are hotly debating Wang’s talk, Shi Zhihong, the deputy director of the CCP Central Committee’s Policy Research Department, published an article on January 5th in Jiefang Daily entitled ‘The Party’s 17th NCCCP and the New Emancipation of the Mind from a New Starting Point — A Discussion of Various Aspects of the 17th NCCCP Report after Continued Reflection.’
It came to the author’s attention that the 12,000-character-long article did not receive much attention from the media. However, this article has a deeper meaning, considering the influence of Jiefang Daily among all the party newspapers as well as the author’s own workplace.
The CCP Central Committee’s Policy Research Department has always been the ruling party’s think tank. It drafts all types of documents for the party’s central leadership. Wu Mingyu, a former deputy director of the Development and Research Center under the State Council, told the author that the Central Committee’s Policy Research Department “ought to record and understand the developments of high-level officials’ thoughts, integrate various research agencies’ reports, and send important pieces to party leadership.” For an article written by the deputy director of the Central Committee’s Policy Research Department, one cannot simply take it as personal opinions. The author Shi Zhihong also was publicly announced as one of the members participating in the drafting of the 17th NCCCP report read by Hu Jintao at the Congress.
As early as before the 17th NCCCP took place, the official Xinhua News Agency published an article entitled ‘Looking Forward to the 17th NCCCP: Standing at a New Historic Height and Raising the Sail of Emancipation of Mind.’ The article said, ‘Emancipation of the mind without hesitation … is a new test for us.’ In the 17th NCCCP report, it said that ‘Emancipation of the mind is a magic weapon for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.’
Shi’s article … added that ‘obviously, developing socialism with Chinese characteristics and continued emancipation of the mind is the main theme throughout the report.’
The article also said that, only around this ‘main theme,’ ‘one can truly understand the essence of the 17th NCCCP report, comprehend the mission of the party at this new historical point, and grasp the direction the party takes to continue on emancipation of the mind along the party’s new development and practices.’ The article added, ‘Therefore, emancipation of the mind ought to enter a new and higher realm.’”
People’s Forum on peopledaily.com.cn, “Why is emancipation of mind is even more necessary at this moment?” 
“Judging by the international trend, we need emancipation of the mind more now than at any other time. Globalization as an expansion of the domestic, economic activities is crucial to the long-term development of the global economic structure. During the current peaceful development, the powers and the distribution of interests are undergoing a deep reshuffle.
Only when we constantly emancipate the mind can we easily handle the developments, changes, and competition. Only then can we become successful, avoid losses, and achieve the goals of developing the nation and securing a position in the future global power map.
Judging by the domestic situation, we also need emancipation of the mind more than at any other time. With reform at a critical point, relationships among interest groups are getting more and more complicated. New situations and new problems are constantly emerging. Although our modernization has made great achievements, we continue to be at the preliminary stage of socialism for a long time. The pressures and tasks of development are thus imminent. Although people’s living conditions are continuously improving, there is a trend of deepening inequalities in income distribution between different regions and between rural and urban areas. Although the economy grows rapidly, social welfare, such as education and medical care, has not been able to keep up with it, making it difficult for people to receive medical care and education. Only if we constantly emancipate the mind can we calmly deal with future risks, safely pull through social transitions, protect the stability of the nation during reform and development, and guarantee the smooth progression of the modernization of socialism.”
There are bottom lines to emancipation of the mind.
The purpose to emancipation of the mind is to resolve real issues. However, this does not mean that we can say whatever we want to say, do whatever we want to do, and use whatever ways there are as long as it is for the purpose of resolving real issues. There are bottom lines to emancipation of the mind, which is definitely not encouraging ‘running red lights’ or ‘paying edge ball.’ We must be clear-headed in our thoughts and firm in our political stance. We must especially insist on the fundamental political line of “one central task and two basic points”  and we must follow the constitution and laws. These are the bottom lines.
Emancipation of the mind should not deviate from economic development as the central task. We must put our attention on construction and development and treat them as the primary tasks for the nation.
Emancipation of the mind should not deviate from the ‘Four Cardinal Principles,’ in front of which there is no room for freedom. Although our economic structure is pluralistic and the distribution of interests is diversified, the history and the situation of our nation disallow a multi-party political system. We must keep a multi-party cooperation under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. We must insist on the full power and authority of the CCP in the administration, judiciary, economy, culture, and military. We cannot allow so called ‘judicial independence’ or ‘nationalization of military.’ We must insist on socialism, and walk the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We must insist on the people’s democratic dictatorship and constantly develop socialistic democracy, thus be able to truly protect people’s benefits and protect the nation’s sovereignty, safety, unity, and stability. We must insist on the fundamental principles and implementations of the Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism. When we combine these with considerations for the constant changes in the current situation, we will be able to constantly enrich and develop the Marxism in practice.”
 Nanfang Weekend, January 17, 2008
 People’s Forum on peopledaily.com.cn, September 20, 2007
 “one central task and two basic points” is the fundamental policy of the CCP at "Rudimentary Stage of Socialism" proposed ah the 13th NCCCP. The "one central task" refers to economic development as the central task; "two basic points" refers to upholding "Four Cardinal Principles" and "Reform and Opening."