17th Central Committee’s “Culture Document” – 8: Online Guidance of Public Opinion (网上舆论引导)

[Previous leg of this translation: Beautiful Melodies.]

We are still within the 4th chapter of the Central Committee’s “cultural decision” document – i. e. the chapter on Comprehensive implemention of the “Erwei” Direction and the “Shuangbai” Policy, to Provide the People with Even Better and Even More Spiritual Nourishment. For the meaning of Erwei and Shuangbai, see footnote 2 at the end of this post. For an explanation of what the “cultural decision” is about, see this post.

I’ve seen a number of comments across the internet which refer to the document as self-defeating, in one or another way, and especially for the belief that the CCP’s ham-fisted approach to “culture” will stifle cultural or civilizational development.

This belief may actually be true – but it depends on your concept of culture, or civilization. If a “Tibetan dancing troupe” is – in your own view – a true reflection of what Tibet is about, you may find the concept perfectly reasonable. Besides, while a “prosperous” cultural development with a consequential growth in international “soft power” is certainly one of the CCP leadership’s wet dreams, it will – in case of any conflicts of objectives – need to take second or third seat to an overall priority – the perpetuation of China’s totalitarian system. From that perspective, putting a flattering international image first, and thus risk losing political control, would be more self-defeating than anything else.

But above all, it doesn’t seem to make sense to discuss the effects of the document without having read the document itself. I’ve seen many referrals to and discussions about it in English-language threads on the internet, but no full translation of it in English. If you are aware of one available on- or offline, please let me know.

The following para is e), or para 5 (五) in the fourth chapter’s Chinese original.

e) A healthy internet culture needs to be developed. To strengthen the ideological and cultural front online is an urgent task within the construction of socialist culture. The directives of positive use, scientific development, legal administration and security must be conscientiously implemented, the building of internet management be strengthened and improved, online guidance of public opinion be strengthened, and the ideological mainstream be brought into play [literally: be sung, 唱响] online. The project of building online content, the promotion of disseminating traditional cultural gems and fine contemporary works, production of works which suit emerging media such as the internet and mobile phones, and netizens must be encouraged to create works of a healthy style online. Accelerated development of key news websites, the building of a number of domestically and internationally influential, comprehensive and characteristical websites, the positive role of major commercial websites, and cultivation of online contents production and companies which serve as a service backbone must be supported. A new mode of business needs to be developed in the field of internet technology, covering the high grounds of online communication and dissemination. The building of civilized websites must be broadly carried out, a civilized internet, civilized online behavior, insistence on service providers (运营服务企业) performing their legal duties and responsibilities must be promoted, so that they will not serve as channels for harmful information. The building of the internet in accordance with the law, an accelerated formation of legal standards, administrative supervision and management, self-discipline within the industrial sectors, technical safety, public supervision, social education, i. e. a combined system of internet administration must be strengthened. Guidance,  management and standards of social networks and instant messaging tools must be strengthened, and a civilized and rational internet environment be cultivated. The behavior of spreading harmful information must be punished in accordance with the law, particular action to control and ban pornographic and vulgar information be developed further, and internet crime be cracked down upon seriously. Protection of individual online information must be increased, a system to assess online security be established, and public interest and national communication security be increased.

(五)发展健康向上的网络文化。加强网上思想文化阵地建设,是社会主义文化建设的迫切任务。要认真贯彻积极利用、科学发展、依法管理、确保安全的方针,加 强和改进网络文化建设和管理,加强网上舆论引导,唱响网上思想文化主旋律。实施网络内容建设工程,推动优秀传统文化瑰宝和当代文化精品网络传播,制作适合 互联网和手机等新兴媒体传播的精品佳作,鼓励网民创作格调健康的网络文化作品。支持重点新闻网站加快发展,打造一批在国内外有较强影响力的综合性网站和特 色网站,发挥主要商业网站建设性作用,培育一批网络内容生产和服务骨干企业。发展网络新技术新业态,占领网络信息传播制高点。广泛开展文明网站创建,推动 文明办网、文明上网,督促网络运营服务企业履行法律义务和社会责任,不为有害信息提供传播渠道。加强网络法制建设,加快形成法律规范、行政监管、行业自 律、技术保障、公众监督、社会教育相结合的互联网管理体系。加强对社交网络和即时通信工具等的引导和管理,规范网上信息传播秩序,培育文明理性的网络环 境。依法惩处传播有害信息行为,深入推进整治网络淫秽色情和低俗信息专项行动,严厉打击网络违法犯罪。加大网上个人信息保护力度,建立网络安全评估机制, 维护公共利益和国家信息安全。

There seems to be nothing particularly striking about paragraph f) – or (六) -, apart from popular satisfaction as the highest standard of evaluating cultural works, and popular assessment, expert assessment and the scrutiny the works undergo in the market as combined features of an evaluation system. Awards and funding, as well as protection of intellectual property and the strengthening of copyright are also mentined in paragraph f). Evaluation, awards and funding had been mentioned earlier in the central committee’s decision, within the third chapter (Promoting the Building of a System of Socialist Core Values, Consolidating the Common Ideological and Moral Foundations of Party and National Unity for the United Battle of all Nationalities), too – see its philosophy and social sciences context here.  Their repetition in the fourth chapter (Erwei /Shuangbai) seems to indicate that the party leaders strongly believe in the allocative function of public – or official – praise. Also see Footnote 2 here, about the Five-One Project.

To be continued.

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