Party bureaucrats are demanded to always carry quotes by the president and study them; those who can’t recite them from memory may face punishment.
by Yang Xiangwen
China’s National legislature adopted amendments in March 2018, to enshrine into the Constitution President Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, launching the compulsory studying of president’s ideas to everyone, primarily members of the Chinese Communist Party and government officials.
Ever since then, a flood of materials and activities have been introduced to force people study “Xi Thought” – from the notorious “Xi Study Strong Nation” app to special TV programs, like the series “Bringing the Language of ‘Ping’ Closer to the People: the Dictionary of General Secretary Xi Jinping,” broadcasted in October 2018 on the China Central Television.
And the arsenal of propaganda tools seems to be expanding. On June 9, the Outline for Learning Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, compiled by the Central Propaganda Department, was issued nationwide, expanding the scope of activities to promote “Xi Thought” to Party members and government officials.
The propaganda department of a municipality in Changzhi city in the northern province of Shanxi issued a notice in early July, demanding each health system official and worker under its jurisdiction to purchase a copy of the Outline to ensure full coverage of “Xi Thought” studies and training.
According to media reports from mainland China, the Organization Department of Ci County Committee, under the jurisdiction of Handan city in the northern province of Hebei, published the Pocketbook of Quotations from Ping’s Language Close to People in July and distributed copies to every CCP member and official in the county’s 280 villages. In less than a month, more than 20,000 copies of the pocketbook have been distributed.
The pocketbook contains a series of Xi Jinping’s speeches and mandatory “knowledge points,” themed “Don’t forget the original intention; keep the mission in mind.” The book also comes with a notebook, titled Party Members and Officials’ Pocket Log. All members of the Party and government officials are demanded to memorize the contents of “Xi’s Quotes” and carry the log with them at all times, making notes.
As reported by the local media, the pocketbook features a compact design, is easy to carry, and allows Party members and officials to use their “fragmented time” to read and study anytime and anywhere, significantly increasing Party members and officials’ interest and efficiency for study. However, it seems that such extolling reports do not truly represent the voices of those who are forced to study “Xi Thought.”
“Ever since Xi Jinping took office, he has been developing his personality cult,” a Party member who asked to remain anonymous said. “He is at the core of everything. By making Party members and officials study the pocketbook, Xi is retreading the path of Mao. First, we’re indoctrinated; then, we have to be assessed. Anyone who dares to argue with the CCP will be punished.”
Another Party member added that the law in China only serves the Party, and Xi Jinping is imposing his views on the people. “You must study and memorize his quotes, no matter how busy you are. Otherwise, if an inspection team determines that someone doesn’t study the book, they will be disciplined and forced to leave their jobs without pay.”
The design of the leader’s shining portrait on the red cover of Pocketbook of Quotations from Ping’s Language Close to People is hugely similar to the one on the cover of Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong.
More than half a century ago, Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong, was all the rage. Initially only used within the Party for learning and propaganda purposes, by the beginning of 1969, a copy of the book was owned practically by every person in China. Mao Zedong’s personality cult, as espoused by the CCP, began spreading throughout the country.
According to an August 15 report by Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA), the General Offices of the CCP Central Committee and the State Council issued a document, stating that “The atmosphere of the entire Party and society caring about and supporting the establishment of ideological and political theory courses isn’t strong enough” and must be strengthened so that “Xi Thought” can enter the minds of children.