He Ping (何平), the head of the All-China Journalist’s Association, announces the launch of a new app to train and license Chinese journalists — and maintain ideological control. Image: ACJA.

Are you a Chinese journalist struggling to keep yourself in check? Do you toss and turn at night with the alarming thought that you might forget your obligations and report something factual? Never fear. Your propaganda super-app is here.

Released just before the weekend by the All-China Journalists Association (ACJA), “Journalist’s Home ‘University Hall’” (“记者之家”大学堂) is a comprehensive online training platform that will be used not just to train journalists in CCP press doctrine, but to track their progress and certify their training results, assisting with annual reviews and renewals of journalists’ press cards (记者证).

Image of the “Journalist’s Home ‘University Hall’” training app released recently by the All-China Journalist’s Association.

According to state media reports, the new app includes more than 220 separate courses in the Marxist View of Journalism (马克思主义新闻观), the set of concepts that define the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership and control of the media, and the fundamentally political role of the “news worker” (新闻工作者).

“From this point forward, millions of journalists across the country can carry out training in the Marxist View of Journalism through the internet platform,” said a news release from the ACJA and Xinhua News Agency, “which will play a positive role in educating and guiding journalists to concentrate their souls around Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.”

The app navigation includes two basic sections, one on “foundational coursework” (基础课), which includes training in the tenets of Party press control and the leadership concepts of Xi Jinping, and another on “practical coursework” (实务课), which includes instructional videos from veteran Party journalists on key political and policy concepts.

In the “practical coursework” section, you might watch a study video with Xinhua journalist Zhang Yang (张扬) to better understand how you, as a state media journalist, can become an “influencer-style journalist” (网红型记者), meaning that you cultivate your personal influence across social media platforms — all in the interest, naturally, of being a better vehicle to “guide” public opinion. Or you might hear from Lu Xin (芦鑫) at the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on how to safeguard “ideological security,” the foundation of which, you will be told, is “political faith” (政治信仰) in the ruling Party.

Screenshot of app training video on “international communication” led by Xinhua journalists Xu Zeyu, who has fashioned a reputation as a leading Party strategist on external propaganda.

And recognizing that China is in the midst of a “smokeless war” with the West for dominance of global public opinion, how should you, as a faithful Party journalist, take the battle to foreign social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook that formally speaking are off limits to your fellow Chinese nationals? There is perhaps no one better to address this issue than Xu Zeyu (徐泽宇) of Xinhua, who has embraced Party calls for a new “studio” system of individualized accounts to do the bidding of the Party-state — learn more in CMP’s “Personal Brands for Party Agendas” — and become something of an external propaganda guru.

At a ceremony unveiling the app on June 30, He Ping (何平), the head of the ACJA, said that it would crucial in “firming up the backbone” of journalists in China, and “arming their heads” with Xi Jinping’s governing concepts.

The term “Journalist’s Home” (记者之家) has long been used to refer to the idea that the All-China Journalist’s Association might serve as the basis for a professional community of journalists in China, protecting their rights and interests. However, the primary role of the organization — like all Party-led professional and social organizations in China — is to enforce discipline and control within the community.

A 2021 report in the People’s Daily discussing the ACJA’s continued identity as a “Journalist’s Home,” quoted a top official saying the organization would “continue to unite and lead journalists in adhering to the correct political direction, and to [correct] guidance of public opinion.”

CMP Staff

The China Media Project

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