As part of the 2021 Party History Campaign, citizens are mobilized to spy on “historical nihilists” who may teach or divulge non-CCP-approved history.
by Massimo Introvigne
One campaign dominating Chinese media in these days and little known abroad is the “Party History Study” movement, launched by Xi Jinping in this 100th-anniversary-year of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). I described the main features of the campaign in Bitter Winter, and Xi’s Marxist persuasion that those who control history control the country. As I mentioned there, when dealing with the CCP we should forget the bourgeois concept of history as an effort to ascertain the historical truth based on documents and archival research. The Marxist concept of history is to tell the facts in a way that promotes and strengthens the Communist Party.
The campaign is not going well, though. Some deviant elements took advantage of Xi’s emphasis on history to promote what the CCP calls “harmful information involving historical nihilism” (涉历史虚无主义有害信息), which is a code expression for using non-CCP-approved works by foreign academic historians, or adopting a bourgeois method of studying history rather than seeing history as a tool to reinforce the Party and its leaders.
On April 9, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), through its branch aptly called Central Network Information Office Reporting Center, issued a circular letter asking Chinese citizens to report non-CCP-approved history they may discover on the Internet. Mobilize citizens as spies is a time-honored CCP strategy.
On April 13, the CAC presented the document at a Party History Study work promotion meeting.
Here is Bitter Winter’s translation of the edifying circular letter.
Report Online Historical Nihilism and Wrong Speech to telephone number 12377—Reporting Center for harmful information involving historical nihilism
Date: April 9, 2021
Source: Central Network Information Office Reporting Center
This year is the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, and the whole Party is mobilized to learn the history of the party, understand the ideas, derive practical consequences, open new situations. As General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed at the mobilization meeting of the Party History Study campaign, we must clearly oppose historical nihilism, strengthen the ideological guidance and theoretical analysis, resist the ambiguous understanding and one-sided understanding of major historical issues in the history of the Party, to better correct the sources and strengthen the foundation.
“If someone wants to destroy a country, it should first take control of its history.” For some time, some with ulterior motives under the banner of so-called “historical analysis” and “restoring the truth” have been spreading historical nihilistic misrepresentations on the Internet, maliciously distorting, denigrating and negating the history of the Party, the state and the military, in an attempt to confuse. The impact is bad, as it distorts ideas, confuses people’s minds, and dissipates the “four self-confidences.”
In order to avoid misleading the public with false statements, maintain a clean cyberspace, and create a good atmosphere of public opinion for the centennial of the Party, the Central Internet Information Office (State Internet Information Office) Reporting Center for Illegal and Undesirable Information recently opened a special area for reporting “harmful information involving historical nihilism” on its official website, app, and other channels, specifically to receive reports from the public.
Accepted content includes:
1. distorting the history of the Party, the history of new China, the history of reform and opening up, the history of socialist development.
2. attacking the Party’s leadership, guiding ideology, guidelines and policies.
3. defaming [the Party’s] heroes and martyrs.
4. disparaging the good Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture, and advanced socialist culture.
We hope that the majority of Internet users will take the initiative to play the role of social supervision, actively participate in the comprehensive management of the network, and enthusiastically report the harmful information, and jointly maintain a healthy network ecology.
Report phone number: 12377
Report Website: http://www.12377.cn
Official microblogging, WeChat public number: the State Internet Information Office Reporting Center
Report Client: Network Report.