At last month’s 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping demonstrated that he is at present the untouchable core of political power in China, like a great big spider sitting at the center of the Party’s vast web. He has but to pluck at his fibers and his message will slavishly reverberate.
In CCP parlance, that message is referred to as the “spirit.” The “spirit of Xi Jinping’s important speeches,” for example. Or, more recently, the “spirit of the 19th National Congress.” If we look at how the “spirit” is being delivered and studied and enforced at the local level in China, this can help us better understand Xi’s message.
The November 16, 2017, edition of the official Chongqing Daily runs an article under the headline “Firmly Grasping the Main Position in the Online Public Opinion Struggle” (at right).
The provincial meeting in Sichuan was preceded by an identical series of “explanation lectures” in Chongqing, held on November 14 and 15, in which Wu Zequn (吴泽群), the director of the Central Party School’s Research Center for the Theoretical System of Socialism With Chinese Characteristics (and, the article noted, a “PhD in philosophy”), said that “[the Party] must hold the main position in the online public opinion struggle.” The officials of the cyberspace administration and its local agencies, he said, are “the pioneers in protecting national political security.”