CCP Tightens Ideological Grip Over Chinese Society, Leaked Documents Reveal

CCP Tightens Ideological Grip Over Chinese Society, Leaked Documents Reveal
Chinese leader Xi Jinping attends the closing session of China's rubber-stamp legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 28, 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
Frank Yue

Since the 18th National Congress, a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) conclave held in 2012, Xi Jinping and his regime have pushed for tightening the Party’s control over society—to maintain the Party’s rule over all levels of government and its people.

The Epoch Times has obtained three government documents from a trusted source that reveal the escalation over the years of CCP’s ideological surveillance, which has reached an unprecedented level since Xi came to power in November 2012.

Document No. 9

"Ideological work is an extremely important part of work for the Party," Xi said, while addressing a national propaganda work conference on Aug. 20, 2013. “Ideological work” is a term used to describe the process of creating and implementing policies to ensure that authorities follow the CCP’s instructions in toeing the Party line.

In May 2013, a notice on the "Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere" was circulated online. Also known as Document No. 9, the statement was issued by the General Office of the Central Committee of the CCP.

However, it was quickly deleted from the internet by the CCP’s Cyberspace Administration.

According to a report published by The New York Times in Aug. 29, 2013, this secret document warned CCP officials about the seven threats that could take down the Party. The seven threats include democracy; universal values; civil society; neoliberalism; freedom of the press; historical nihilism; and the questioning of China's reform and opening up.
Various media reports claim that Document No. 9 was meant to be circulated only among the inner circle of the CCP. However, in June 2013, its contents were leaked to overseas media by Gao Yu, an independent female journalist. Consequently, Gao was sentenced in April 2015 to seven years in prison for allegations of leaking state secrets.

Carrying Out Ideological Work

On Oct. 3, 2015, the General Office issued a document titled “Implementation Measures for the Ideological Work Responsibility System of the Party Committee (Party Group),” that laid out the responsibilities of a Party committee or group in implementing the regime’s ideology.
In the document, Article 4 says "Standing committees of Party committees at all levels shall conduct special research on ideological work at least twice a year; and do a good job in transforming key targeted people, such as opinion leaders, social media influencers, and dissidents."

Authorities Should Be Wary of 'False Ideas'

In mid-April 2017, the General Office released a similar document on implementing ideology to local Party committees or groups to consolidate the CCP's grip over every aspect of society. Evidence shows that the internal document was distributed broadly—from the Central Committee all the way down to Henan Province, and then to Luoyang city—according to a leaked document obtained by The Epoch Times.
 Leaked document from Luoyang city on implementing the CCP's "ideological work," issued in 2017. (Provided to The Epoch Times)
Leaked document from Luoyang city on implementing the CCP's "ideological work," issued in 2017. (Provided to The Epoch Times)

The internal document, issued by the Luoyang government in 2017, described the CCP’s top concerns over ideological control. It emphasized that local authorities should be wary of "false ideas" of democracy, civil society, and universal values that could spread among ordinary people and officials.

Similar documents from the far-western region of Xinjiang were also obtained by The Epoch Times.

For example, Tarim University in the city of Alar in Xinjiang has carried out ideology work and forbids religious activities, religious ideas, and traditional clothing on its campus. To resist the influence of religious "infiltration," a special Party leadership group was formed to oversee relevant ideological work.

Frank Yue is a Canada-based journalist for The Epoch Times who covers China-related news. He also holds an M.A. in English language and literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China.