In a rare homage yesterday to General Secretary Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party’s official theoretical journal, Seeking Truth (求是), ran a retrospective on its website summarising and linking to every article ever written for the journal by the current president.
Some suggested the tribute might be a sort of mea culpa by the journal, which on December 15, 2014, Issue 24 for the year, ran a piece by Ling Jihua (令计划), the former top Hu Jintao aide who is now under formal investigation for corruption.
Ling Jihua’s Qiushi article, bearing the copious title “Adhering to the Correct Path of Chinese Characteristics in Handling Ethnic Issues, Realizing the United Struggle for the Chinese Dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese People” (坚持中国特色解决民族问题正确道路 为实现中华民族伟大复兴中国梦团结奋斗), has since been removed from the journal’s online table of contents and expunged from the site, the original link now yielding a “deletion” notice.
The formerly active link for Ling Jihua’s article on the website of the official People’s Daily now leads to a cutsey 404 error in the shape of a red heart and the words: “Where has your page gone?” The notice then suggests readers might consider donating to the charity below.
Fortunately, a version of Ling Jihua’s Qiushi article is still available from The Paper, a Shanghai-based online media platform that has in recent months proved itself an essential daily read.
The blanket deletions of Ling Jihua’s piece, which was published just days before the announcement of an official corruption investigation against him, has led to speculation from the Hong Kong Economic Times that publication of the article had run afoul of senior leaders in the Xi administration －－ and that yesterday’s tribute was essentially “begging for mercy,” or qiurao (求饒), on the part of the journal.
Two days after the investigation of Ling Jihua was announced, Bo Zhiyue speculated in The Diplomat that Ling’s Qiushi piece had marked his attempt at “pledging loyalty to President Xi Jinping.” As Bo noted, Ling mentioned Xi Jinping no less than 19 times in his short article, running to just 4,231 words.
Just to give readers a taste of Ling Jihua’s language in the now missing Qiushi piece, here is a translated excerpt:
3. [We] must continue to protect the unity of our Mother Country. General Secretary Xi Jinping has emphasized that “properly handling ethic issues and doing a proper job of ethnic work concerns the major question of national unity and territorial integrity. Unity is the greatest interest of the nation, and the common interest of our various peoples. . . Unity is a blessing; unrest and separatism are curses. Only with national integrity and the unity of our people, only with social stability, is there a favourable environment for development. Only then can we grasp the important strategic opportunity for realizing the great rejuvenation of our people. The overall conditions for ethnic unity, social stability and national unification are good. And yet, the hostile forces of the West still seize on ethnic issues to carry out ‘westernisation’ and ‘separatism’ against us. The situation we face is serious and complex.
Studying and implementing the important speeches of General Secretary Xi Jinping demands that we take national unification as the greatest interest of our various peoples, daring to struggle against the forces of ethnic separatism, the forces of religious extremism and the violent forces of terrorism. We must have a deep understanding that the basic principle of ethnic work is national unification. We must hold this line of unity as we handle ethnic issues, energetically praising the great national spirit with patriotism at the core, firmly crushing the separatist plots of hostile forces within our borders.
Beyond speculation about the reasons for the Xi Jinping Qiushi retrospective and its possible links to the Ling Jihua corruption investigation, the online list, which offers summaries and links to Xi Jinping pieces going all the way back to October 1996, is a fascinating look at the leader’s rhetoric over the past more than 17 years.
The language is — as always with official CCP hooey — tough to muddle through. But we recommend it nonetheless for China politics junkies and other masochists.
A few tidbits in translation follow.
What Has Xi Jinping Talked About in Qiushi?
In recent years, Xi Jinping has published a series of important articles in Qiushi — about the deepening of reform (深化改革), about the mass line (群众路线), about reforming [official] work styles (改进文风), about socialism and other aspects. [He has] raised many new ideas, new concepts, new summaries, new judgements. What has General Secretary Xi talked about in Qiushi? Qiushi Online has brought together for the reader many important writings from over the years on subjects including reform, anti-corruption and historical responsibility.
1. He talked about a nation under rule of law (法治国家)
Issue 1, 2015
Pull-out quote: “The deployments at this plenum concerning the comprehensive promotion of governance of the nation in accord with the law (依法治国) are about the self-strengthening and self-raising of our Party’s national governance (治国理政), and is not undertaken under pressure from others.”
2. He talked about deepening reforms (深化改革)
Issue 21, 2014
Pull-out quote: “Our Constitution, as an expression of our basic law, is a reflection of fruits of the Party’s leadership of the people in carrying out revolution, [national] construction and reform, and it establishes the leadership position of the Chinese Communist Party emerging from history and the choice of the people.”
3. He talked about implementation of the “spirit” of the Third Plenum (三中全会)
Issue 1, 2014
Pull-out quote: “And so this Third Plenum researched the comprehensive deepening of reform, not the promotion of reform in one sector, not the promotion of reform in a few sectors, but the promotion of reform in all sectors — this is a consideration made from the overall standpoint of our national governance system and governance capacity.”
4. He offered an explanation of the Third Plenum “Decision”
Issue 22, 2013
Pull-out quote: “And so, we say that only socialism can save China; only economic reform and opening can develop China, develop socialism and develop Marxism.”
5. He talked about historical responsibility (历史重任)
Issue 1, 2013
Pull-out quote: “Today, the baton of history has been passed on to us. History and the people have bestowed upon us a great responsibility, which will be tested by our actions . . . The basic theories of the Party, its basic policies and tenet and experiences, and its basic demands, define our direction and our long-term [goals]. Everyone must deeply abide by them, conscientiously carry them out, never relaxing in their determination, never fearing any risks, and never being subject to any interference.”
6. He talked about a program of action (行动纲领)
Issue 23, 2012
Pull-out quote: “A vast body of fact tells us that if the problem of corruption grows more and more severe, it will by necessity destroy the Party and the nation! We must be alert! In recent years serious violations of law and discipline have occurred within our Party, of a very odious nature, with a damaging impact on politics . . . “
7. He talked about the CCP Charter (党的章程)
Issue 23, 2012
Pull-out quote: “Leading cadres at various levels must take the study of the Party charter as a compulsory course, and comrades taking up new posts must take the study of the Party character as their first course of study, taking the lead in compliance with the Party charter’s various stipulations. [They must] take the lead in doing what the Party charter says Party members must do; and they must take the lead in not doing what the Party charter says Party members must not do.”
8. He talked about the mass line (群众路线)
Issue 15, 2012
In the era of revolutionary war, thousands upon thousands of Chinese Communist Party members acted not for their posts, not for money; they did no fear adversity; they did not fear prison; they faced hardship with stoicism, not fearing to give their lives; they truly sacrificed for their beliefs and faith . . . Today, the conditions for our ruling Party are much improved, and some Party members hesitate to press ahead in the face of tensions; they are pessimistic and lose hope in the face of difficulty; some even can’t resist the temptations of power, money and carnal desire, and they fall to become corrupt ones. The fundamental reason for this is that their political ideals (政治理想) and political beliefs (政治信念) have gone wrong.”
9. He talked about the purity of the Party (党的纯洁性)
Issue 6, 2012
Pull-out quote: “To maintain the purity of the Party style, we must clear away salient problems in Party style building in a timely manner. Among these we must pay special attention to lazy governance, the creed of seeking good relations with all ( 好人主义) and other such bad trends. When all we seek is good relations [with other officials], we don’t point out problems, we turn a blind eye to errors . . .
. . . .
24. He talked about economic structures (经济结构)
Issue 4, 2001
“Structural adjustment as the main line has already become a consensus within our Party. How to formulate ideas about structural adjustment on the basis of local resource situations is the crux of whether or not structural adjustments can be handled properly. In the case of Fujian, the focus of structural adjustment must be the optimising of industrial structures . . .
25. He talked about liberation of thought (解放思想)
Issue 1, 1999
“The liberation of thought and seeking truth from facts are the intellectual line of our party. They are the intellectual treasure that has allowed our Party to move from victory to victory in our socialist reform and construction — and they are the spirit of Deng Xiaoping Theory.”
26. He talked about economic development (经济发展)
Issue 10, 1996
Pull-out quote: “Transitioning our form of economic growth is one crucial step in our goal of realizing socialist modernisation; it is an objective demand of our national economic and social development. Judging from economic development in Fuzhou over the past few years, insisting on the seeking of truths from facts, and proceeding from real circumstances, is crucial to promoting the transition of economic growth methods.”