He Ping (何平), former Xinhua News Agency president and editor-in-chief, is now the top official at the All-China Journalist’s Association.

At a meeting on Monday of the All-China Journalist’s Association (ACJA), former Xinhua News Agency chief He Ping (何平) was formally appointed as the new chairman of the organization, an ostensible “non-governmental organization” that in fact serves as an important layer of exercising CCP control over news organizations and the country’s more than one million registered journalists.

Born in 1957, He Ping has spent his entire career within Xinhua News Agency since graduating from Peking University in 1982, at the outset of the reform and opening period. In 2007, he was appointed editor-in-chief of the agency, and in October 2020 finally became chairman.

In his closing remarks to the meeting, He Ping said that top ACJA officials had met with Xi Jinping and other leaders in the CCP Central Committee, including Huang Kunming (黄坤明), head of the Central Propaganda Department. He Ping told those in attendance that Huang had raised “clear demands” for the work of journalists and the heads of local and regional ACJA chapters. “We must take the concerns of the General Secretary and the CCP Central Committee as a powerful spiritual impetus in better performing the duties and missions entrusted to us by the Party and the people,” said He.

The more concrete instructions for those present, to be conveyed to all journalists working in China, were couched in dense CCP terminologies. He Ping said, for example, that Chinese journalists must enhance their sense of “political nature” (政治性), a reference to maintaining uniformity with the ideology of the Party and the state – including on the Party line and policies, on questions of sovereignty and foreign relations, and so on.

The term “political nature” has been used by the CCP in reference to the obligations of the press since at least since the early 1950s. An article on page two of the People’s Daily on August 26, 1951, criticized the publishing of advertisements in Chinese newspapers that did not follow the Party line, and urged papers across the country to struggle against “lack of political leadership by the editorial board” over advertising decisions.

An article in the People’s Daily in August 1951 criticizes newspaper advertisements that do not follow the CCP line, saying that ads too must have “political nature.”

He Ping also emphasized the need for media to “adhere to correct public opinion guidance” (坚持正确舆论导向), a term that relates directly to CCP control of the media in order to maintain the stability of the regime, and the need for journalists to “serve as disseminators of the Party’s policies and propositions” (做党的政策主张的传播者).

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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