|A Study on Contemporary Chinese Intelligentsia and Media Elite ——Survey II of Contemporary China’s New Social Structural Changes |
author：Wang Yicheng Fang Ning Wang Bingquan Liu Ruisheng
|link IPS 2008:|
I. Basic Change among Contemporary Chinese Intelligentsia
1. Chinese Communist Party Policy on Intelligentsia
A. Solidarity, Education and Transformation as Policy Features before the Introduction of Reform and Opening up
B. Respecting knowledge and talents as Policy Features ever since
2. Changes that have taken place in Contemporary Chinese Intelligentsia
A. Growing in size
B. Receiving obviously better treatment
C. Enjoying a significantly more prominent status
D. Increasingly complicated in structure
E. Becoming ever more divided
II. Contemporary Chinese Intelligentsia in the Ideological Field
1. Their Change under Market Economy Conditions
A. Freer choice in personal professions and individual development
B. Pluralized orientation in value concept and in ideological, political and cultural approach
2. Intellectuals in the Ideological Field
A. Ideological Building and Intellectuals since the introduction of reform and opening up
B. Active Intellectuals in the current ideological field
3. Intellectuals’ Political Participation
A. Taking up Party and government leading posts at all levels
B. Assuming people’s deputies or CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) committee members for political participation and deliberations
C. Providing Party and government organizations at all levels with policymaking advices and publicity services
D. Joining political parties or non-government organizations
E. Having their say in all media to impact public opinion and reform orientation
III. Emergence of Media Elite and their Basic Condition
1. Emergence of media elite
A. Conditions for their emergence
B. Process of their maturing
2. Media elite: Group structure and characteristics
A. Group structure
B. Group characteristics
IV. Impact of Media Elite
1. Media elite: basic mode of impacting public opinion
A. Fostering personal impact on public opinion
B. Utilizing name brand media and columns to expand scope of impact
C. Putting sophisticated issues on the agenda and striving to dominate ideological discourse and media orientation
D. Taking advantage of illegal publications and overseas media to surmount state administrative and legal restrictions
2. Media Elite: Application of New Media
A. Creating ideological websites for dissemination of conflicting viewpoints
B. Applying diversified modes of network ideological impact
C. Spreading psychological impact via mobile phone messages, etc.
D. Pressurizing on the ruling party and government via Internet open letters and protests
3. Hot ideological issues in China today
A. In the economic field
B. In the legal field
C. In the cultural field
D. In the social field
E. In the historical field
F. In the political field
4. Trends of Development for Media Elite
A. The ideological media elite will go on breaking up on the basis of the current social ramifications
B. Members of the media elite who don’t subsist well tend to be “depressed” and inactive
C. The ruling party and government will go on striving to guide the social ideological media
D. The ideological struggle will persist and develop
|A Study on Contemporary Chinese Intelligentsia and Media Elite |
A Study on Contemporary Chinese Intelligentsia and Media Elite is the second cooperation project between the IPS/CASS subject group of Contemporary China’s New Social Structural Changes and KAS. The current subject aims to analyze the changes that have taken place in the new historical period since the introduction of reform and opening up as compared with the past, laying emphasis on the social, economic, political and cultural status, role and impact of the intelligentsia in the ideological field, especially the media elite, forecasting their trends of development.
Taken as a whole, the contemporary Chinese intelligentsia has been playing an important, positive role in all walks of life throughout the historical period of reform and opening up, making important contributions to the development of China’s productive forces, to making the country strong and people rich, experiencing an ever higher social status. In the meanwhile, they are expanding in size, getting more and more complicated in structure, witnessing an eye-catching differentiation in their world outlook, outlook on life and values, and showing a very obvious pluralized tendency in ideological viewpoint and political propositions. This is particularly so among the intellectuals in the ideological field. Along with the changes in economic structural transition and social development, the reactive effects of social consciousness on social being are intensified. Intellectuals with divergent values and political standpoints in the ideological field are becoming more and more outspoken on major practical issues and related historical issues, articulating their divergent viewpoints to strive for ideological discourse and impact the public opinion and the ruling party’s policymaking and the orientation of China’s reform.
This dynamic move of ideological intellectuals finds a concentrated expression in the emergence of the media elite. The rapid development and popularization of modern information media in China serves as an opportune catalyst to the formation of such a special group. It is indispensable to investigate the elite and its behavior and impact if one is to observe contemporary China’s changes and the role of its intelligentsia.
I. Basic Change of Contemporary Chinese Intelligentsia
In China, the intelligentsia refers to those with relatively high educational level and working with their brains. After the introduction of reform and opening up, alongside the social changes in contemporary China and the changed policy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on intellectuals, the Chinese intelligentsia has greatly enhanced their social status, role and impact while at the same time the remarkable split up among them is an important aspect reflecting China’s social structural changes.
1. CCP policy on Intellectuals
With the Third Plenary Session of its 11th Central Committee in December 1978 as the watershed, the CCP made an important adjustment in its policy on intellectuals. While it was previously articulated as stressing solidarity, reliance, education and transformation, it was revised to stress “respecting knowledge and talents,” and “fully trusting and relying on intellectuals” ever since. This change shows on the one hand that the CCP has attached greater importance to the role of intellectuals and on the other hand that the policy on intellectuals is not radically different from that before the onset of reform and opening up. The difference underlying the change is that intellectuals are generally defined as part of the working class. A major change has taken place in the mode and method of guiding and educating intellectuals, as manifested more in respecting, trusting and tolerating them instead of waging ideological remolding or mass criticism movements against them at every turn.
A. Solidarity, Education and Transformation as policy features before the introduction of reform and opening
In semi-feudal, semi-colonial old China, there gradually arose a large group of intellectuals and young students, but they accounted for a very small number in the whole population. Judging from their family origin, living conditions and political standpoints, most of them could be categorized into the petty bourgeoisie. After the May Fourth Movement of 1919, the Left wing of the intellectuals accepted the ideological impact of the Russian October Revolution and Marxism-Leninism and became the mainstay of the revolutionary forces in the struggle against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism while the Right wing were intellectuals subservient to and serving imperialism and the big bourgeoisie. This section of people, as well as the middle-of-the road intellectuals under their impact, worshipped Western bourgeois economic and political institutions and pursued individualist and self-centered US liberty and democracy while opposing or doubting or adopting a wait-and-see attitude towards the Communist-led New Democratic Revolution.On the eve of nationwide victory of the Chinese People’s War of Liberation, Mao Zedong published a series of articles in relation to the problem existing among the intellectuals, such as “On People’s Democratic Dictatorship;” “Cast Away Illusions, Prepare for Struggle;” “Farewell to Leighton Stuart;” “The Bankruptcy of the Idealist Conception of History,” proclaiming the victory of people’s war, which hallmarked “the total bankruptcy of Western bourgeois civilization, bourgeois democracy and the design of a bourgeois republic in the hearts of the Chinese people. Bourgeois democracy gave way to people’s democracy led by the working class; and bourgeois republic to people’s republic.” It was particularly specified that “some intellectuals still harbor illusions about the United States,” “they are middle-of-the-roaders or rightists in People’s China; they are supporters of what Acheson refers to as ‘democratic individuals’ as there is a thin social basis in China for the fraud of the Archesons. ” “China is in the midst of a great revolution. It is seething with fervor. There are favorable conditions to win over and unite with all those who cherish erroneous ideas but without cherishing implacable hatred for the people’s revolutionary cause. “
Facts there and then or later evidenced Mao Zedong’s judgment. Chinese liberalists or democratic individuals opposed the KMT reactionary rule but neither did they support the Communist Party leadership and propositions. For example, Liang Shouming quoted Chu Anping’s words as saying, “In the political scramble in China today, the CP harps on democracy just to inspire others to fight KMT domination, but as far as the true spirit of the CP is concerned, it is also going after ‘Party domination’ and absolutely not ‘democracy’”. In the early days after liberation Fei Xiaotong, while admiring the Communists for their fine spirits and style of work, also disbelieved that they would practice democracy, which he thought was connected with voting, elections and opposition parties and would not co-exist with dictatorship at the same time. Since the new regime was to exercise dictatorship over the aliens, it could not possibly allow for democracy.
Although all intellectuals did not support the CCP in its propositions and the people’s cause under its leadership, the CCP had always attached great importance to the intellectuals and their role and invariably tried to win them over and unite with them as far as possible. The reason was that they were the “first elements who got conscious during the Chinese democratic revolutionary movements,” “often played the role of the vanguard and bridge,” “Marxism-Leninism was also first accepted by the intellectuals and student youth in its widespread dissemination and acceptance in China.” The organization of revolutionary forces and the building of a revolutionary cause would not have been successful without the participation of individuals.” “China was a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country, underdeveloped culturally; hence, intellectuals were particularly valuable.”
The inner Party directive on The Question of the National Bourgeoisie and the Enlightened Gentry drafted by Mao Zedong in March 1948 stated, “By laboring people, it is meant all those who work with their hands such as workers, peasants, and handicraftsmen, etc, as well as brain workers who work like them at the exploitation of others instead of exploiting others.” In other words, “those who work at the exploitation of others without exploiting others are laboring people.” In his famous On New Democracy, Mao Zedong wrote, “At any rate, the Chinese proletariat, peasantry, intelligentsia and other sections of the petty bourgeoisie are the basic forces deciding on the destiny of the nation. These classes have awakened or are awakening; they are bound to become the basic part of the state structure and political regime composition while the proletariat is the leading force.”
The CCP has always regarded “winning all progressive intellectuals over to its impact” as “an indispensable important policy.” During the period of the War of Resistance against Japan, Mao Zedong drafted a decision on behalf of the CCP Central Committee on December 1939 entitled as “Absorb Intellectuals en Mass” to counter the erroneous fears and even exclusions of intellectuals that existed among some cadres, stressing, “it will be impossible for the revolution to triumph without the participation of intellectuals,” “we should absorb intellectuals en mass into our army, into the work of our schools and governments,” “practically encourage our worker-peasant cadres to study hard and raise their educational levels so as to turn the into intellectuals and vice versa at the same time,” and “comrades of the whole Party must become aware that a correct policy on intellectuals is one of the important conditions for the victory of the revolution.” “We shall never repeat the incorrect approach of our Party in many localities and troops during the land reform period. On the other hand, the fostering of proletarian intellectuals certainly cannot be accomplished without the help of those already existing in society. The Central Committee earnestly anticipates the Party committees at all levels and all Party comrades will pay serious attention to the question.” In an inner Party directive “On Policy” drafted in December 1940 on behalf of the CCP Central Committee, Mao Zedong called for stepped-up efforts to absorb all intellectuals with anti-Japanese enthusiasm to work in our schools, give them short-term training and enjoin them to join army, government and social work; to freely absorb them, trust them and promote them.”
In the process of cadre examination at Yan’an, there was once universal skepticism of intellectuals, which Mao Zedong invariably tried to curb once it was discovered. Even during the massive political turmoil of the “cultural revolution,” when the Gang of Four whipped up an ultra-Left ideological trend of repudiating and negating the intellectuals, Mao Zedong also resolutely held it in check. He resembled the intelligentsia to the hero Yang Zirong in the household model Peking Opera “The Sea of Forest in Snow,” and pointed out in all earnest, “Intellectuals should not be ostracized” when they were stigmatized as coming ninth following landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements, rightists, renegades, traitors and degenerates.
The CCP solidarity with and value for intellectuals also found expression in giving them relatively good material living conditions and treatment as far as possible. During the hardest days in the War of Resistance against Japan, the CCP provided Category A technical cadres a monthly stipend of 15 to 30 yuan, a dwelling cave to them each and a suit of specially padded and an unlined garment every year. According to the statistics compiled by a scholar, the salary of a professor was roughly that of a section chief in the central government department during the period of the Northern Warlords, that of a first class county magistrate during the period of the Nanking government, but the wages of a professor were roughly equivalent to the standard of a vice-minister after the founding of New China. During the three-year difficult period from the end of the 1950s to the early 1960s, the wage standards were lowered three times for state cadres of the tenth grade and above. For example, after being lowered thrice, the 1956 standard of 644 yuan for the first administrative grade (the highest state wage standard) was lowered to 404 yuan in March 1965, while keeping the wages of high-level intellectuals intact. The wages of a first rate professor and research fellow remained 345 yuan and the maximum wages of a doctor in charge of the medical department remained 335.5yuan. These were approximately the standard wages of a minister or the fourth and fifth grades of administrative cadres. Furthermore, they were given special considerations in material treatment.
While stressing solidarity with and relying on intellectuals in its policy on intellectuals, the CCP was very attentive to the ideological remolding of the intellectuals’ world outlook. During the Yan’an period, Mao Zedong pointed out clearly, “Our respect for the intellectuals is absolutely necessary because the revolution can never win without revolutionary intellectuals. But we are also aware that many intellectuals presume they are very knowledgeable and put on great airs on that account, without realizing such great airs are very bad and harmful, impeding their progress. They should be aware of a truth that many so-called intellectuals are relatively the most ignorant while the workers and peasants are sometimes more knowledgeable than they are.” He urged intellectuals who have joined the revolutionary ranks to foster the idea of serving the people wholeheartedly, and guided them to learn from and serve the workers, peasants and soldiers. “The question of whom to serve is a fundamental question, a question of principle,” he always stressed. “An intellectual will accomplish nothing unless he integrates himself with the workers and peasants. The final demarcation line of a revolutionary and a non-revolutionary or counter-revolutionary intellectual is whether he integrates himself with the workers and peasants. ”
After the seizure of nationwide political power, on the one hand the CCP adopted the policy of “contracting” all the intellectuals from the old era, and continued to give the overwhelming majority of them appropriate jobs and distributed responsible jobs among some of them. The CCP also tried hard to help those unemployed to get jobs or made appropriate arrangements for them. Politically, many representatives of the intellectuals were granted status due to them. On the other hand, the CCP considered it imperative to help the intellectuals from the old era in ideological remolding and disseminated the work method and experiences gained in carrying out ideological and political education among the intellectuals who joined the revolutionary ranks during the revolutionary war periods to the sphere of remolding the intellectuals from the old society as well as that of training the new generation of intellectuals, and did a great deal of work in this regard. For example, it organized them into the land reform; the suppression of counter-revolutionaries; the anti-American aggression and aid Korea campaign; the combat against three evils: corruption, waste and bureaucracy; the combat against five evils: bribery of government workers, tax evasion, theft of state property, cheating on government contracts and stealing economic information for private speculation; the nationwide ideological remolding movement among intellectuals; the researches on the film “The story of Wu Xun” and the novel “Dream of Red Mansions;” the repudiation of Hu Feng’s literary and art ideas and the study and publicity of the general line for the transitional period outlined by the Party Central Committee in 1952. These series of measures and the ideological and cultural campaigns played a positive role in transforming intellectuals’ political standpoints and world outlook, in repudiating the idealist conception of history and fostering the materialist conception of history, and in enhancing their socialist ideological consciousness. But the mass repudiation mode adopted in ideological and cultural fields was detrimental to the normal atmosphere of forming academic probe and settling ideological awareness problems, hurting the self-respect of some intellectuals and adversely affecting their relations with the Party.
In his famous February 1957 speech at the Supreme State Conference entitled “Concerning the Question of Correctly Handling Contradictions among the People,” Mao Zedong pointed out in the section on intellectuals, “Most of the intellectuals in China have made remarkable progress in the past seven years. They expressed approval of the socialist system, and many of them are studying Marxism hard. Some have become Communists. These are few in number, but are on the increase.” At the same time he pointed out, “To fully meet the new social needs, to unite as one with the workers and peasants, intellectuals must continue to remold themselves, and gradually abandon their bourgeois world outlook and establish a proletarian and world outlook. The change of world outlooks is a radical change. We cannot claim most intellectuals have accomplished such a change.” “All intellectuals or student youth should study hard. Apart from professional studies, they should make some progress ideologically and politically. This requires them to study Marxism and politics in current affairs. Having no correct political viewpoint is tantamount to living without soul. The past ideological remolding was necessary and yielded positive results, but the method adopted was somewhat coarse, and did harm to some people. This was bad and we must see to it that the shortcoming be avoided in the future.” This indicated the CCP Central Committee had made some important readjustments in its policy on intellectuals on the basis of summing up its work on intellectuals during that period.
The main contents of the readjustments can be seen in the following: 1. At the January 1956 National Conference on Intellectuals, Zhou Enlai made a speech “On the Question of Intellectuals,” in which he pointed out that an overwhelming majority of the intellectuals “had become state working personnel serving socialism and that they were part of the working class.” “While uniting with, educating and remolding the old intellectuals,” the Party “had been energetically fostering a large number of new intellectuals, quite a number of them being intellectuals from the laboring people.” On that basis, he added it was necessary “to mobilize and tap the current forces of intellectuals to the utmost,” which he said was “not only a requirement for the intensified construction cause at the present time, but also the prerequisite for the further remolding, expansion and enhancement of the intellectuals.” The Party Central Committee’s Directive on the Question of Intellectuals adopted by the Political Bureau meeting held February the same year further pointed out, “An alliance of workers, peasants and intellectuals has been formed. ” 2. The CCP Central Committee formally outlined the policy of letting all flowers blossom and letting all schools of thought contend in May 1956. As pointed out by Mao Zedong, “That is a policy to promote the flourishing of art and the progress of science, a policy to promote the prosperity of socialist culture in China. Different forms and styles of art can develop freely and different schools of science can contend freely. We consider it harmful to the development of art and science to enforce a style or school by administrative power while banning another style or school administratively. The question of right and wrong in art and science should be settled through free discussions among art and science circles and through practice in art and science; it should not be settled by oversimplified methods.”
These important understandings and policy readjustments on intellectuals were based on the correct analysis of intellectuals’ class identification after the founding of the People’s Republic, their status and role, as well as ideological and political state of affairs. The readjustments, if implemented, would certainly be conducive to better uniting with the intellectuals and better displaying their role in the cause of national economic development and socialism, and also conducive to helping intellectuals carry on their ideological remolding self-consciously, and realize the goal of becoming both “red and expert.” Regrettably, during the 1957 nationwide Party consolidation campaign, “a handful of rightists took advantage of the opportunity to air their views without restraint in a frenzied attack against the Party and newborn socialist system in a vain attempt to replace the Party leadership, thus triggering the anti-Rightist struggle. Entirely correct and necessary as it was, the struggle was seriously magnified with the evil consequences of mistakenly defining a number of intellectuals, patriots and Party cadres as ‘rightists.’” With this event as a hallmark, the necessary readjustments of Party policy on intellectuals was interrupted, an increasingly erroneous “Leftist” tendency finally led to the ten-year turmoil of the “cultural revolution” which seriously confused the contradictions among the people and those between the enemy and ourselves, jeopardizing the Party policy on intellectuals.
Nevertheless, the CCP policy of uniting with, educating and transforming the intellectuals before the introduction of reform and opening was successful on the whole. The most telling evidences were witnessed in the fact that a large number of prominent intellectuals overseas represented by Qian Xuesen, resolutely abandoning their fine living conditions abroad, returned to the motherland shortly after the birth of New China to work selflessly and uncomplainingly for the socialist construction. Without their brilliant contributions, the successes in the A and H bomb blasts and the launching of a satellite would have been impossible in those days. Apart from Qian Xuesen, famous scientists like Qian Sanqiang, Qian Weichang, Deng Jiaxian, Wang Ganchang, Yao Tongbin, Huang Weilu, Zhou Guangzhao, and Wang Daheng as well as the countless intellectuals in science and technology have also made enormous contributions to the building of New China’s independent and complete industrial and national economy system and to the construction cause and S&T progress of the motherland in all fields.
B. Respect for knowledge and talents as policy features ever since
The Third Plenary session of the 11th Party Central Committee was a turning point in China’s social development. The Party policy on intellectuals also experienced a major readjustment.
Firstly, in terms of the class identification of intellectuals, the erroneous “Leftist” understanding of intellectuals as bourgeois as a whole during the “cultural revolution” was corrected and they were clearly defined as part of the working class and a force to be relied upon in socialist construction. In his speech at the opening ceremony of the National Congress of Scientists in May, 1978, Deng Xiaoping pointed out that the overwhelming majority of intellectuals have become intellectuals of the working class and laboring people; hence, they are part and parcel of the working class itself. The only difference with physical laborers is their different role in the division of work.”
The 1981 CCP Central Committee’s Resolution on “Certain Historical Issues of the Party” outlined a standardized version on the political status of the intellectuals: Like the workers and peasants, the intellectuals are a force to be relied upon in the cause of socialist construction.” The Introduction of the 1982 Constitution stipulates, “The cause of socialist construction shall rely on the workers, peasants, and intellectuals and unit all forces that can be united with.” Article 23 of the Constitution stipulates, “The State shall train all professionals who serve socialism, expand the contingent of intellectuals and create conditions for fully tapping their roles in the socialist modernization drive.”
Secondly, the policy of “respecting knowledge and talents” was put forward resoundingly as an important part of the Party policy on intellectuals during the new period. Thereafter, the formulation of “solidarity, education and transformation” has no longer been used in the narration of Party policy on intellectuals.
Another important content was the rehabilitation of people unjustly, falsely and wrongfully accused and sentenced, including the implementation of policy for intellectuals wrongfully criticized and dealt with. To this end, the Organization Department of the Party Central Committee in 1981 took the lead in setting up a panel of contact with intellectuals. In 1982 the Party Central Committee issued a Circular on Making a Checkup on the Work Related to Intellectuals, which urged the basic completion of intellectual-related work before the convening of the 13th CCP congress.
After the appeasement of the 1989 disturbances, the Party Central Committee continued to adhere to the policy on intellectuals since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Party Central Committee, stressed all the more forcefully their irreplaceable important position and role in the socialist modernization drive, in the era of market economy and knowledge economy. For example, in May 1990 Jiang Zemin published an article on “Patriotism and the Mission of Chinese Intellectuals.” In August 1990, the CCP Central Committee issued a “Circular on Further Strengthening and Improving Our Work on Intellectuals,” etc., all pointing out that “Intellectuals are an important force in building socialism,” that they have “made important contributions to and are playing an irreplaceable role in, the modernization drive and reform and opening up,” and that the core of the Party and Party policy on intellectuals is respect for knowledge and talents.” “As a part of the working class engaged mainly in mental work, intellectuals are playing an irreplaceable role in the socialist modernization drive, and undertaking a major social responsibility.” (Note 1) The report to the 14th CCP congress in October 1992 pointed out, “Intellectuals are the part of the working class that grasps more scientific and cultural knowledge; they are pioneers of advanced productive forces, playing a particularly important role in reform and opening up and the modernization drive. Whether we can fully tap their talents decides to a large degree on the prosperity and decline of our nation and the process of its modernization drive.”
Thirdly, greater importance was attached to improving the treatment of intellectuals. Emphasis was laid on striving to create better environment for intellectuals to display their wisdom and intelligence, to further shape up a good atmosphere of respecting knowledge and talents in the entire society. Get determined to adopt important policies and measures to actively improve intellectuals’ working, studying and living conditions, give high awards to intellectuals with outstanding contributions, and institute a standardized awarding system.” In February 1993 the CCP Central Committee and the State Council jointly issued “The Outline of China’s Educational Reform and Development,” in which it was clearly defined that “The wages system of the education sector would be reformed to improve teachers’ wages treatment so that their wages level was more or less on the same par with personnel of the same category of enterprises owned by the whole people. During the 8th Five-Year Plan period, the average wages of the educational sector would be higher than the average level of workers and staff of enterprises owned by the whole people, and would be medium on the higher side in the 12 industries of the national economy, and the average wages of colleges and universities would be higher than the average wages level of enterprises owned by the whole people.”
Since the introduction of reform and opening up, there has emerged one batch after another of outstanding representatives and models among the intellectuals who have made outstanding contributions to China’s development and progress. For example, Jiang Zhuying, a post-graduate under Wang Daheng of Changchun Institute of Optics who dedicated himself to the S&T undertakings of the motherland, persevered in work in spite of his illness, got over-exhausted in worsening conditions and died young at 44. For another instance, Yuan Longping, known as “father of hybridized paddy rice plants,” cultivated a fine variety of hybridized paddy rice plant that not only promoted China’s grain production, but also contributed to the settlement of grain shortage in Asia and the rest of the world. Particular worthy of mentioning is the emergence a large number of young S&T backbone elements since the introduction of reform and opening up. In many key links of the Chang’e I moon exploration satellite, it was the new generation of young and middle-aged scientific research backbone elements that served as the pilot experts or leading figures crowned with R&D successes.
To sum up, by investigating the formation and development arteries of the CCP policy on intellectuals, we can conclude that the CCP has always attached great importance to uniting with and relying on intellectuals and has strived to create all conditions for guiding them to fully display their positive role. There were “Leftist” deviations in the analysis of intellectuals’ ideological and political status and in the emphasis of their ideological remolding, particularly the serious mistakes committed during the “cultural revolution,” but they were all corrected eventually. Meanwhile, one can see that the basic principle and orientation of the CCP policy on intellectuals before and after the introduction of reform are identical, the underlying change lies in the more scientific and practical awareness of the CCP policy on intellectuals and its greater conformity with the requirements of China’s economic and social development and advancement.
2 Changes of Contemporary Chinese Intellectuals
The development and changes of the contemporary Chinese intelligentsia during the new period of reform and opening up are first of all manifested in the following:
A. Ever-growing in size
The intelligentsia since the founding of the People’s Republic has been growing steadily in size.. According to the statistics of student enrolment of secondary professional schools and above, there were about 5 million intellectuals in China in 1957, accounting for 0.8% of the total population. By 1978, the figure had grown to 17 million, 1.8% of the total population. After the resumption of college entrance exams, the intelligentsia was growing even more speedily. In 1984, China drew open the curtain of its comprehensive economic restructuring. The second generation of collective leadership with Deng Xiaoping as the core outlined the program to upstart education and enhance the intelligentsia numerically and qualitatively. Deng Xiaoping stressed that “our country is increasingly dependent on the quality of its labor force and on the quantity and quality of its intelligentsia for the strengths and weakness of its national power and for the stamina of its economic development.”
The 4th national population census data in 1990 showed 33.0412 million people with secondary professional schooling, 2.92 5 of the total population. In 2000 the figures of college students and above in the 5th were 45.71 million, 3.52%. During the same period, there were increases by wide margin in the number of personnel in education and culture as well as scientific research, where intellectuals made up higher proportions. In 1978, there were only 206,000 teachers in Chinese institutes of higher education. By 2005, the figure had risen to 966,000, up by 369%.
In the early days after the founding of the People’s Republic, the Chinese intelligentsia was small in size and low in schooling. In 1977, soon after his resumption of office, Deng Xiaoping proposed to rehabilitate the academic degree and professional and technical titles of schools, scientific research institutes and enterprises. According to Deng’s opinion, the central authorities and related departments decided to restore the professional and technical titles and set up the academic degree systems. By 1985, a total of 29 series of professional and technical titles had been restored and newly established, and the bachelor, master, doctoral systems put in place one after another. Along with the deepening of reform and opening up, China’s educational cause especially higher education quickly developed with the number of higher institutes increasing year by year. The enrolment of colleges and universities kept expanding, TV education, spare-time education, correspondence education and network education also developed extensively. In their wake came the enhancement of intellectuals’ schooling, with personnel possessing master and doctoral degrees and associate and full professorships increasing with each passing day. In 1978, there were 598 ordinary higher institutes of learning, enrolling 402000 students nationwide, with 165000 graduating students and only nine postgraduates. By 2005, the figures had grown to 1792, over 5 million, 3 million and 190000 respectively. According to five nationwide population censuses, the number of college students and above for per 100000 was 416 in 1964, 615 in 1982, 1422 in 1990, and soared to 3611 in 2000, or 45.70 million people with college education level and above and nearly 200 million with senior middle school and secondary professional school education and above.
Population schooling in five nationwide population censuses
Number of persons with educational level for every 100000 people 1953 1964 1982 1990 2000
College and above 416 615 1422 3611
Senior middle schooling and secondary professional schooling 1319 6779 8039 11146
Population of the same year in 10000s 59435 69458 100818 113368 126583
B. Obviously better treatment
Since the introduction of reform and opening up, the working and living conditions of intellectuals have seen remarkable improvements. The CCP has adopted a series of measures to settle their income problems. In 1982, it adopted the policy of linking schooling years with wages. In 1985, it carried out structural wages reform focusing on positions. The economic incomes of intellectuals showed a general trend of increase. The table below fully shows the wide-margin growth of average wages 1978 – 2001 for workers and staff in educational, cultural and art as well as scientific research sectors.
1978 – 2001 Average Wages of Workers and Staff in Educational, Cultural and Art
As well as Scientific Research Sectors
(Annual average wages in yuan RMB)
Year Annual average wages Year Annual average wages
(China Statistics Press first edition in 2001)
In the process of general growth of incomes, there emerged the phenomenon of brainwork and physical work pays turning upside down in the mid and late 1980s. In the early days of reform and opening up, incomes grew rapidly. Several groups that grew rich the quickest were mainly farmers who practiced household responsibility system linking remuneration with the contract, individual laborers and private enterprises owners that linked up with the market system earlier. They became the annual earners of 10000 yuan and even 100000 yuan, while the teachers, research personnel, doctors, civil servants and other wages earners saw sluggish growth of economic incomes. There prevailed at the time some doggerel giving a pop portrayal to the phenomenon: Guided missile makers earn less than egg sellers, surgeons earn less than chefs, etc.
After the 1990s, the settlement of intellectuals’ material treatment became the frequent stress in certain important documents of the CCP Central Committee and State Council as well as the related speeches by the collective leaderships of the third generation. Starting in 1993, the state readjusted the wages every two years in organs and institutions where intellectuals concentrated, with a wages hike of about 20% at one time. By the end of the 1990s, the phenomenon of brainwork and physical work pay turning upside down had disappeared. The overall income of intellectuals had reached and even topped the medium level of urban residents.
Average wages for certain sectors in 2005
Sector Average wages (yuan/year)
National average 18364
farming, forestry, livestock and fisheries 8309
Public management and social organization 20505
Electricity, gas and water production and supplying industries 25073
Scientific research, technical service and geological prospecting 27434
Higher education 29689
Press and publications 34042
IT, computer service and software 40558
(Source: China Statistics Annuals 2006)
Dwelling conditions also greatly improved. Along with the launching of the overall social residential reform, efforts were stepped up to make intellectuals dwelling improvements. Take teachers for example. In the 1991-1996 period, the average floor space of an urban teacher’s family nationwide increased from 6.6 sqm at 1992 year-end to about 8 sqm at 1995 year-end. In 2006, the figure ran to 28.05 sqm, in excess of the average for city and town residents.
Some specialized intellectuals such as writers, economists, jurists, lawyers and doctors, on the other hand, earned high royalties, copyright taxes, lecture fees, and scheming charges, and became high income earners in society. For example, the author Eryuehe of serial historical novels Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty received over 10 million yuan in royalty and copyright tax between 1990-2000
C．Social status much more improved
Since the onset of reform and opening up, intellectual have improved their political and social status much more than the other social strata.
After the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Party Central Committee, the CCP set it a goal to show concern for intellectuals politically, absorb into the Party in good time those who were in line with Party membership requirements and boldly promote to leading posts those who were fit for such appointments (including non-Party intellectuals).
The 9th congress of the CCP held during the “cultural revolution” restricted Party membership applicants to the framework of only workers，poor and lower-middle peasants，revolutionary soldiers and other revolutionaries. The 11th Party congress held soon after the end of the “cultural revolution” continued to follow the same stipulation. But the 12th congress held in 1982 revised it whereby intellectuals were clearly put on the same par with workers, peasants, soldiers as qualified social members to apply for CCP membership, thus throwing the Party’s door wide open to intellectuals. The 16th CCP congress held in 2006 went further to stress that all types of labor contributed to the socialist modernization drive, by hand or by brain, simple or complicated, shall be glorious, and shall be recognized and respected. Statistics showed that 2.75 million intellectuals had joined the CCP nationwide from 1979 – 1989 year-end . By 1987, over 1 million intellectuals had been promoted to leading posts at all levels across the country.
While enjoying ever better economic incomes and political status, intellectuals soared in social status at the same time. For instance, Shenzhen reputations of 100 professions in 2000 indicated the ten top reputations went to scientists, network engineers, professors, software developers, architects, air pilots, elementary and high school teachers, translators, university teachers and lawyers (Note 1), mostly under the intelligentsia category.
The March 2003 Survey by Institute of Sociology/CASS subject group of Social Changes, Social Awareness and Social Mobility in Contemporary China indicated that the three top professions popular among Chinese common people were scientists, sociologists and professors while the 1999 survey of the same identification revealed the three top professions were mayors of big cities, ministers and professors. Researchers found that the three top professions that gained popularity featured (a) modern scientific knowledge and specialized skills; (b) high political power; and (c) handsome economic earnings.
The 6th Survey of China Popular Science Institute issued on December 5, 2006 on China Public Science Quality showed that the top best professional choices for children of Chinese common people were: teachers came first, 47.5%; doctors came second, 46.2% and scientists came third, 40.7%.
D. Increasingly complicated in structure
Major changes have taken place since the introduction of reform and opening up. The social structure before was relatively simple: There were two classes only: the workers and the peasants; and two strata only: the cadres and the intellectuals. Within the nearly three decades afterwards, many new interest groups and social strata branched out of Chinese society, with the class and stratum structure getting more and more complicated. Even the internal structure of intellectuals was plagued by changes corresponding to those in social structure and became more and more divided and pluralized
Academicians used to consent on the social attributes of intellectuals, ruling them out as an independent class, regarding it imperative for them to be attached to a certain basic class in society or dependent on certain strata for their survival. Before reform and opening up, intellectuals were dependent on the two major classes, the workers and peasants, and the state based on both of them. With the deepening of reform and opening up in China, as well as the changes in economic and industrial restructuring, there emerged social strata other than the workers and peasants; thus triggering drastic, complicated changes in terms of ownerships in connection with the intellectuals and their class and stratum attributions.
Firstly, changes in attribution. Since the introduction of reform and opening, thanks to state policy support and encouragement, there have cropped up some rapidly developing economic elements in the multi-ownership system in China, under which intellectuals can move freely from public units to non-public units and to mixed units and gain their own material interests according to distribution rules different from those under public ownership. The change in intellectuals’ employment channels and distribution relations has triggered a change in their original relatively unitary attribution and element structure.
Secondly, changes in professional structure. Along with the rapid development of the market economy followed by that of modern industry and application of S&T, social professional divisions of work ramified, featuring increasingly pluralized professional choices and social needs for intellectuals, software engineers, brokers, accountants, free-lance contributors, liberal men of letters and what not cropped up. Compared with the past, intellectuals are increasingly complicated in professional structure coupled with more demanding professional requirements.
Thirdly, increase of free choice employees and business owners. Starting in the mid- and late 1980s, along with the kickoff of overall economic restructuring and reforms in S&T, educational, cultural structural systems as well as the cultural institutional systems, especially the talent mobile policy which broke up the ownership by the employing unit, ownership by the employing department, or ownership by the employing region, under the original planned economy structure, there emerged continuously xiahai intellectuals who plunged into the market for free choice of jobs and ran businesses of their own. By the end of the 20th century and the early days of the 21st, they had grown into a new intellectual group to be reckoned with, constituting a special component of the present intelligentsia. This special component of the intelligentsia, daring to rely on their own knowledge, skills, and patents of invention, as well as their adventurous spirit, are seeking for relatively high remuneration directly from market mechanisms. Their mobility is mainly from public units to non-public ones, from the countryside to the cities, from inland to coastal areas, from small and medium-sized cities to big cities, and from home to abroad.
Intellectuals who have made free choice in employment, and created businesses of their own are mostly non-Communist Party members. For example, out of the 38 million professional intellectuals nationwide in the beginning of the 21st century, some 10 million were working in non-state-owned enterprises and undertakings. A random survey showed that over 700000 intellectuals in Guangdong Province moved from the provincial talents exchange center to non-public economic sectors, including 559300 to three venture enterprises, and 124900 to enterprises run by private individuals, private owners, HK, Macao and Taiwan as well as foreign investors, as well as some 6000 to non-public undertakings. There were more than 2.1 million intellectuals working in non-public economic sectors, accounting for about 2/3 of those with academic records. The professional identities are mostly white-collar employees, intermediate or senior managerial personnel and professional technicians in large and medium-sized non-public enterprises, builders of non-government S&T enterprises and owners of private enterprises. Of these, non-Party intellectuals constituted an overwhelming majority, forming a highly influential non-Party intellectual group. The results of a 1997 survey by the Ministry of Personnel (MOP) on the political features of all personnel at all levels kept in exchange archives showed that 89% of those intellectuals of free choice jobs were not CCP members. The 2004 statistics of China South Personnel Market jointly set up by Guangzhou municipal people’s government and MOP indicated that non-CCP members constituted 81%.
Some sociologists divided Chinese society in the new period into ten social strata: (1) State and social administrators, (2) Managers, (3) Business owners, (4) Professional technicians (5) Clerks, (6) Industrialists and businessmen, (7) Commercial service personnel, (8) Industrial workers, (9) Agricultural laborers, and (10) Urban and rural jobless and semi-unemployed. From one side, such delineation reflects the pluralized and complicated objective reality of the contemporary Chinese social structure. The structural change of the intelligentsia is a miniature of gradual change from the simple social structure composed of two classes and two strata into a multi-level complicated structure with diverse economic and political statuses and differing interest needs.
E. Becoming ever more divided
The split up of intellectuals is an inevitable outcome of the pluralized and complicated structure of the intelligentsia.
Firstly, economically split up. Since the 1980s, the employment of intellectuals has changed from the past state distribution to market distribution. In terms of economic interests, there are not only intellectuals under state-owned units, but also those under non-public ones, still others are self-employed. In terms of economic incomes, there are big gaps per capita in units of different ownerships, different sectors and different regions and even in the same region, same sector and under the same ownership. But such gaps are mainly manifested in different regions, sectors and under different ownerships.
Secondly, split up in status. Generally speaking, the educational level of intellectuals is directional proportional to their income level and personal status. In other words, the better educated and skilled they are, the higher their incomes and wealth, social reputation and personal status. After the introduction of market economy institutional system, the scrambles for talents among different enterprises and undertakings intensified. To grab and absorb outstanding personnel, all methods were resorted to. This is especially true of China’s colleges and universities. For example, they introduced the systems of high salary appointment, of stipends, awards and commendations, fund assistance, the projects of selecting and training cross-century talents, academic chiefs, outstanding teachers, and the academic and faculty assessment system, etc. , which aggravated the split up of intellectuals in personal status. It is noteworthy that the entry of foreign-invested enterprises, especially multinationals into the Chinese market has become an important dynamic cause and served as a catalyst propelling the cutthroat competition for talents and the drastic split up of the intellectuals.
Thirdly, ideologically split up. Since the introduction of reform and opening up, Sino-foreign cultural exchanges have been expanded, resulting in a highly prosperous and activated ideological sphere. Apart from the Party and state-led and-supported mainstream ideology, all sorts of isms, trends of thought and religious beliefs have flooded in, directly or indirectly reflecting the ideological standpoints and appeals of the various classes and strata as well as interest groups to which intellectuals belong. Different trends of thought and their representative figures mostly hold different or even diametrically different views on one and the same social phenomenon and social issue. This is not only a manifestation of all schools of thought contending in the Chinese ideological and cultural fields, but is also indicative of the unprecedented split up of the Chinese intelligentsia in ideological faith and values.
Fourthly, politically divided. Closely connected with their split up in economic interests, personal status, ideology and values, intellectuals are also obviously divided in their political standpoint and political participation requirements since the introduction of reform and opening up. Among the intellectuals in all sectors, there are active applicants for CCP membership, though of various percentages. There are also intellectuals willing to join democratic parties; still others are ready to remain without party affiliations. Some are elected as people’s deputies, or CPPCC committee members for active political participation a political deliberations; others are politically indifferent, anxious only about their personal and family interests, seeking only for the development of their own undertaking and wealth. Still others hold divergent political views, engaged in consistent assaults on current social evils or even demanding radical change of state or political systems.
II. Contemporary China’s Intelligentsia in the Ideological Field
The social changes of intellectuals in contemporary China’s ideological field are of relatively typical significance. They grab certain discourse power, mainly engaged in liberal arts and social science studies, possessing wide social impact and receiving extensive attention because of their strong and forceful articulation. The media elite mostly originates from this section of the intelligentsia. To deepen the probe on the formation of media elite and their manifestations, it is necessary to make key analysis of the intellectuals in the ideological sphere.
1. Changes of intellectuals under market economy conditions
A. Freer choice of personal professions and development routes
After the birth of New China, it was up to the state to make overall planning and operation of the training and use of intellectuals and technicians. For example, it was up to the state and local education commissions to put in place in a unified manner the specialties and enrolment of secondary professional and technical education as well as the higher institutes of learning at all levels according to the state and local needs. The students admitted were exempted from tuition fees and granted a number of state allowances every month. The needy students were granted stipends and the outstanding ones scholarships. The state would arrange the graduates to work where they were needed and they were issued wages as state cadres without exception. Those distributed to remote and border regions were entitled to regional allowances and their wages were higher than those working in large and medium-sized cities in the hinterland. In terms of personal vocational choice and pursuits, intellectuals were supposed to obey state distribution and would go anywhere they were needed as they received training from the state. They would give priority to the needs of the state and the collective interests. They had little freedom of personal choice, but a balanced development was guaranteed of inter-regional and inter-sector personnel. Equality of intellectuals was also guaranteed.
Since the introduction of reform and opening, intellectuals have been able to freely choose their employment along with the development of market economy, the reform of personnel mobility policy and the fee-charging system of higher education. They have become more competitive-minded, bloated with personal awareness and exposed to greater freedom of occupational choice.
Ministry of Education statistics showed that in the 28 years between 1978 when China started reform and opening to the end of 2006, the Chinese mainland had sent over 1.067 million students to study in 108 countries and regions via state, employer unit channels on public expenses and personal channel based on self expenses. But during the same period, only some 275000 had returned after accomplishing their studies abroad while some 792000 remained abroad. Among them, over 200000 had worked abroad, and obtained permanent residence permits or foreign citizenships. The rate of return among the students sent abroad during the 28 years period was approximately 25.77%. Besides, there were over 300000 people who went abroad or overseas on account of spouse and children’s visits and remained as local workers after receiving higher education there. The diversity of orientations in the choice of development has immensely increased the survival space of the intellectuals, and satisfied their personal development requirements. But this has also led to a serious brain drain and unbalanced inter-regional personnel development.
B. Increasingly pluralized orientations in values, ideological and political culture
Before the introduction of reform and opening up, Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought was the mainstream ideology predominating Chinese society. Patriotic, collective and socialist values were the mainstream values enjoying absolute superiority in the whole society. Along with the deepening of reform and opening up, the development of market economy, and the formation of a pattern of co-existence of multiple ownerships and multiple modes of distribution, intellectuals took up jobs in units or enterprises of various ownerships and began to have different personal interest requirements. Plus the influx of Western ideologies, drastic changes of the former Soviet Union and East European countries, and the impact of economic globalization, intellectuals are increasingly pluralized in values, and in ideological, political and cultural orientations.
For example, many intellectuals turned from being concerned with politics and state and collective interests to being indifferent to politics while paying greater attention to personal and family interests. A survey in the 1990s showed that 77.34% of the surveyed were not interested in political activities. Only 24% were ready to take political actions. 42.13% did not want to join any political party. According to a 1999 survey of intellectuals studying Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping and Party membership showed that only 9.8% had perused the Works more than once, while 22.6% said they had never read them. A survey on the political concerns of intellectuals in Xiaoshan District of Hangzhou city, one of the top ten richest cities, showed that most of those surveyed were concerned merely with their own units and the change of personnel in Xiaoshan District alone, fewer and fewer people were concerned with things beyond their vital interests.
Survey of Political Concerns of Intellectuals in Xiaoshan District, Hangzhou city
Choose any two items as your greatest concerns Percentage
Own unit’s personnel and policy changes 46.7%
Personnel changes, future planning and policy adjustments in Xiaoshan 45.9%
Personnel and policy dynamics in Hangzhou 6.6%
State personnel and policy dynamics 22.8%
Social problems, such as agriculture, rural areas and farmers 20.8%
International concerns, such as Iraqi War, EU east expansion 12.0%
Again, for example, some intellectuals, especially the younger ones, under the impact of Western values and political concepts, believe to varying degrees in liberalism and extreme egoism, and pursue after absolute personal rights and freedoms. This makes it impossible for them to correctly understand the setbacks suffered by world socialist practice and all contradictions and negative effects in China’s realistic social lives on the one hand; it also makes them turn over to adore and worship democracy, constitutional government and multi-party system in Western capitalist countries, vacillate and articulate doubts about the correctness of China’s persevering in the socialist road. A handful of people even go so far to pursue political restructuring according to the Western political model and radically change China’s socialist political system. It was not fortuitous that more intellectuals and student youth than other sections of society were involved in the political turmoil whipped up by “bourgeois liberalization towards the end of the 1980s.
For another example, in pursuit of personal fame and wealth, some intellectuals in liberal arts, and some men of letters have been chasing after the vulgar tastes of the market and certain spectators, and openly challenging traditional Chinese culture and ethics. In works of their own creation, they swaggeringly boosted “sexual emancipation,” and gave naked and exaggerated portrayal to sex. Some writers, especially female ones, relished in writing “with their physical bodies.” The flooding of porn articles and videos on the Internet was an outstanding manifestation of such a phenomenon.
The ideological pattern is even more complicated. Given ever-greater freedom for intellectuals in their social lives and social studies, apart from the mainstream Marxist ideology, there are some other social trends of thought, among which, some are non-Marxist, others are anti-Marxist, presenting a rather complicated picture in the Chinese ideological field.
The complicated situation as mentioned above does not mean that China’s mainstream ideology and values have become ineffective. They remain the spiritual pillar and norm of behavior for the great majority of intellectuals and the great masses of the people. That is why China has been able to effectively maintain social and political stability since the introduction of reform and opening up while achieving enormous economic and social development at a rare speed in world history. But there is no denying the fact that the faith in and impact of Marxism and socialism have been weakened among some of the Chinese intellectuals and masses. The mainstream ideology and values are facing an unprecedented challenge nowadays. In a United Front Department of Guangdong provincial Party Committee questionnaire of intellectuals working in the province’s three types of joint ventures and privately run enterprises, 43.2% of the respondents answered yes to the question whether they believe in the Marxist and socialist doctrine; 24.9% said “not clear,” and 6.8% said “no,” 21.4% said “not interested” and 3.7% gave no answers. With regard to the party system, 17.7% stood for multi-party system, 3.2% stood for the two-party system, 11.1% for one-party system and 66.3% identified the system of multi-party cooperation led by the CCP.
2. Intellectuals in the ideological field
A. Ideological building and intellectuals since the introduction of reform and opening up
Social ideological building is strongly related to the intelligentsia. The formation of mainstream ideology and the display of role requires not only publicity on the part of the government organs, but also the participation and identification of the intelligentsia with their higher schooling qualifications. Since the introduction of reform and opening up, as far as their relationship to the ideological field, the intelligentsia can be divided into the following three categories: (a) the professional and technical intellectuals who are far away from ideologies, and concerned mainly with their own jobs and personal interests; (b) the intellectuals who serve directly the formulation, publicity and implementation of Party and state policies; and (c) the intellectuals who are critical of the mainstream ideology. The latter two sections of the intelligentsia are closely related to ideological building and evolutionary changes.
The mainstream ideology in contemporary Chinese society (abbreviated as the “dominating rhyme”) refers to Chinese Marxism --- Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thoughts of Three Represents, and the major strategic thoughts including the scientific concept of development since the 16th congress of the CCP, i.e., “the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” The mainstream ideology operates as the guide and plays the main role in the current Chinese ideological and political fields and in the public opinion in society. This is strongly related to the representative character of the CCP, its ruling party status, and political performance, to the rationality of its basic state policy and the support of the people as well as Party and government management of the mass media, ideological publicity and public opinion guidance. Neither can the functioning of mainstream ideology be separated from the intellectuals’ multifarious cooperation in the ideological field. It is inalienable from, for example, the theoretical explanation by researchers in social sciences and liberal arts, the work of those who teach by precept and example in the educational institutes, and the popularization and dissemination by insiders in the media, etc.
Since the introduction of reform and opening up, as a result of increasingly pluralized orientations of the intellectuals in values and in ideological, political culture, there have emerged all sorts of social trends of thought with diverse origins, of differing currency and impacts, such as “liberalism,” “nationalism,” “humanism,” “new authoritarianism,” “new Leftists” “Christianity,” “new Confucianism,” “Buddhism,” “universalism,” “constitutionalism,” “democratic socialism,” etc.
Among them, liberalism, nationalism, New Leftism, and democratic socialism are trends of thought having a strong impact on the intellectuals and society as a whole. The contents of these trends of thought are mostly directed at major realistic issues and political ones that are highly sensitive, and also involve major historical issues as well as the fundamental theory and system.
B. Activated intellectuals in the ideological field
In recent years several intellectual groups are very active in the ideological field. They are mainly the intellectuals who serve Party and government decision-making at various levels as “think-tank” and “brain trust,” intellectuals outside the Party, and the so-called “public intellectuals.”
——Intellectuals as Party and state think-tank and brain trust: Along with the deepening of reform and opening up, contradictions and problems plaguing China’s social development are getting increasingly diversified, complicated and becoming apparent. With aggravated social risks and management costs, there are growing demands for information and knowledge for Party and state decision-making at all levels. For this sake, the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, and the State Council set up a collective study system, under which specialists and scholars are regularly invited from the Party School of the CCP Central Committee, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the research institutes of ministries and commissions as well as higher institutes of learning to give special lectures for them to heed modestly. Party and government organs at various levels regard the research institutes of social sciences directly attached to them as “think-tanks” and “brain trusts,” specially solicit the opinions of experts and scholars in the process of formulating laws and policies and invite experts and scholars to make investigations and study and appraisal before introducing important strategic and policy measures.
——Intellectuals outside the Party: Intellectuals outside the Party specially refer to those who have not joined the CCP, including those who have joined the democratic parties, and those without any party affiliations, that is, those who have not joined any political party. Intellectuals outside the Party or non-Party intellectuals are an important component of the current Chinese new social strata and intellectual groups. With the development of China’s political democracy and institutionalization of its political consultative organs, the ruling party has been attaching ever-greater importance to their opinions. Before making major decisions, the CCP Central Committee has usually invited leaders of the democratic parties and representatives of those without Party affiliations to attend forums of democratic consultations, inform them of the situations, heed their opinions and deliberate with them on state affairs. In turn, the central committees of democratic parties, representatives of those without Party affiliations, and CPPCC national committee members also have the right to present their written proposals to the CCP Central Committee. They are also entitled to carry out democratic supervision over the work of the ruling party, government and judicial organs through many channels and in various forms. This covers the enforcement of the State Constitution, laws and regulations, the formulation and implementation of all state general and specific policies, the performance of duties by Party organizations, government departments, judicial organs at all levels, and Party leading cadres according to law as well as the building of a clean government.
In March 2005, the CCP Central Committee issued the “Opinion on Further Developing the CCP Multi-party Cooperation and Political Consultation System,” which pointed out the necessity to fully display the role of democratic parties and non-Party personages in participating in the deliberation and administration of state affairs as well as in democratic supervision. The document stipulated in explicit terms, “It is a must to guarantee an appropriate proportion of deputies from the memberships of democratic parties and non-Party personages at the people’s congresses and their standing committees and special committees at all levels and an appropriate number of members in the leading organs of people’s congresses at all levels. On the national and provincial people’s congress standing committees there should be a vice-secretary-general from the democratic parties or from non-Party personages.” “Guarantee there should be a fairly big proportion of memberships of democratic parties and non-Party personages at the CPPCC committees at various levels. Among these, at the time of reelections, there will be no less than 60%, 65% and 50% of CPPCC committee members, CPPCC standing committee members, and CPPCC standing committee vice presidents respectively.” At present, the number of intellectuals outside the Party holding bureau or departmental chief positions at the central and local governments and holding provincial governor positions is on the increase.
——“Public intellectuals.” In September 2004, the Southerner Figures Weekly attached to Southern China Daily rolled out a China list of the top 50 influential public intellectuals, which turned out to be a hot topic among the intelligentsia and mass media in the Chinese mainland for one time. The term “public intellectuals” was defined as knowledgeable people with academic backgrounds, and with specialized qualities, actors who give advices to society and participate in public affairs, and ideal personages with critical spirit and moral virtues. In its wake some other magazines and network media also speculated on all editions of China lists of public intellectuals, such as the 2005 Hundred Chinese Public Intellectuals selected by the Century School. With this, the intelligentsia and their remarks came into public vision under the exotic term of “public intellectuals”, triggering attention and diverse reactions from the public opinion.
Most of the so-called “public intellectuals” are engaged in philosophical, economics, law, public administration, sociological, history and literary studies in the field of liberal arts and social sciences. Some of them have the experience of studying abroad. Their common feature is blowing their own trumpet about “rationality,” “supernatural quality,” “independence,” “upholding good conscience,” and “possessed of concurrent expertise, public and critical” qualities. They are critical of the political system and mainstream ideology in China today, while invariably posing as being “neutral in values,” or “objective and fair,” proclaiming that their comments on public affairs have nothing to do with their personal interests, and make their observations entirely out of their concern over “public interests.” Therefore they often make remarks on the media, discussing the public sector, and certain negative incidents in society, presenting their “stunning” comprehension unique from others or creating trouble for the ruling party and government, explicitly or implicitly.
Practically, in the 1990s the “public intellectuals” began to phase into the Chinese media and became activated. The authorities have been alert and critical of their attitudes while tolerating them at the same time. The great majority of scholars and the public disproved of their so-called “neutrality” and “fairness,” and voiced doubts about them. But the “public intellectuals” did not show restraint on that account but instead went on bragging on the media. Some reputed ones became obsessed with self-speculation and /or haunted mass media as rising stars talking big. One of the reasons behind this was their “boldness” in criticizing and mocking at the government as their “anti-mainstream’ ideological discourse, which won them echoes from some media sharing their views, especially the currency among some youngsters in the “rebellious period,” who are inexperienced in the ways of the world, childish in thinking and lack of judgment.
3. Political participation of intellectuals
Most of the contemporary Chinese intellectuals are concerned with the reality and politics. “Their cultural quality decides on their sensitiveness and enthusiasm in social political issues. Even the more pessimistic ones among them are often more inclined to talk about politics than the other strata of people and those cheerful ones among them are bound to strongly demand participation in or even sponsorship of all kinds of political activities.” The political participation of intellectuals in the ideological field bears the following special features: Fairly strong political sensitiveness, positive attitude of political participation and multi-directional participation routes. They have become an important force in contemporary Chinese political lives through writing books to expound their theories, or through legal channels, or through joining political organizations to participate in the deliberation and administration of state affairs.
A. Taking up leading Party and government posts at all levels
Taking up leading posts at Party and government organs of all levels is a direct form of political participation for some intellectuals.
The readjusted and changed principle of cadre selection has enabled some intellectuals to take up leading posts at various levels. The 6th Plenary Session of the 11th Party Central Committee adopted a resolution in which the Party decided to abandon the practically existent system of life-long tenure of leading cadres, and urged to make the leading personnel at all levels younger, more knowledgeable and professional under the prerequisite of being revolutionary, thus providing a policy basis for promoting a large number of intellectuals into leading posts at all levels. By the basic completion of readjustments in the county leaderships in 28 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central authorities in October 1984, the percentage of those with college education background increased from the original 10.8% to 45%. By 1990 year-end, over 1 million professional technical cadres had taken up Party and government leading posts across the country. Intellectuals that were promoted to leading posts and county level and above in 1987 alone accounted for 72.27% of the cadres promoted that year. In 1982, the percentage of Party and government leading cadres at and above the county level with college education background and above accounted for merely 8.9%. By 1988, the percentage had grown to 66%. Among them those leading cadres at provincial level and above with college education background and above had reached 77%.
On February 9, 1995 the CCP Central Committee issued the “Provisional Regulation on Selecting Party and Government Leading Cadres.” In the stipulations on the requirements of selection and appointment, it was clearly set that “those who are promoted to Party and government leading posts shall usually have an educational level of college education. Among them, the provincial leading cadres shall usually have an educational level of university education.” By the end of 1996, the provincial, prefecture and county leaderships with college education and above had reached 93.2%, 90% and 80.5% respectively.
In the second half of the 1990s, China began to adopt the public servant examination system in recruiting state cadres. The schooling requirement was university education and above, with many posts requiring graduates of the Master and Doctoral degrees. Quite a few provinces and municipalities directly recruited graduates of Doctoral degree to leading posts of deputy division chief and above. As the 21st century set in, Chinese public servant examinations topped the foreign languages examinations before going abroad for further education and they became the hottest examinations in society.
There have always been non-Party intellectuals assumed leading posts at political regime of all levels since the establishment of P.R.C., and after the introduction of reform and opening up, there were more such cases. By the end of 1999, non-Party cadres had been provided to the government leaderships of all 31 provinces, autonomous regions and centrally directed municipalities and 15 semi-provincial cities. There were for example 164 non-Party cadres serving as chiefs of provincial bureaus and 217 serving in prefecture, (municipal, zhou and league) government leaderships. So far, out of the 600000-plus members of the eight democratic parties, 176000 serve as people’s deputies at all levels, 32000 have assumed leading posts at county level and above. By 2004 year-end, 19 had assumed leading posts at the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, and related ministries and commissions in central state organs. In the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and centrally directed municipalities, there were 27 non-Party vice-governors, vice chairpersons and vice mayors. In people’s governments of 397 cities (autonomous prefectures, leagues and districts) there were 354 vice mayors, with 19 serving as vice presidents of provincial courts and procuratorates, and 87 serving as deputy chiefs of prefecture-level municipal courts and procuratorates.
In March 2005, the Central Committee issued an “Opinion on Further Developing the CCP-led Multi-party Cooperation and Political Consultative System,” in which it was outlined, “Assumption of state and government leading posts by democratic party and non-Party personages is an important content for realizing the CCP-led multiparty cooperation. Local governments at and above the county level should select democratic-party members and non-Party personages to take leading posts ---- Those qualified can assume the posts of chiefs.” In April 2007, Wan Gang, Vice-chairman of Zhi Gong Party Central Committee, and auto expert, was appointed minister of science and technology. He was regarded as the first minister from democratic-party members appointed in 35 years.” On June 29, Chen Zhu, a non-party personage and medical specialist, was appointed health minister, which the media commented as a spotlight in China’s political democracy development, describing the appointment of Wan Gang as “ice-breaking” and that of Chen Zhu as a “boost.”
B. Assuming people’s deputies or CPPCC committee members for political participation and deliberations
——People’s deputies: People’s congresses at all levels in China are state power organs at all levels. The leading members of people’s governments, people’s courts and people’s procuratorates at all levels are all elected by people’s congresses at the corresponding levels. They are all accountable to, and under the supervision of, the people’s congresses. Intellectuals account for a considerable proportion of the people’s deputies at all levels, obviously higher than other strata of the people. For example, the percentages of intellectuals among the people’s deputies to the 8th and 9th NPCs were 21.08% and 21.14% respectively. At the 2003 reelected 10th people’s congresses at all levels, there were 176000 people’s deputies with the capacity of democratic-party membership and non-Party personages. Among them seven served as vice-chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee, 50 as NPC Standing Committee members, 41 as provincial PC standing committee vice-chairpersons, and 462 as provincial PC standing committee members, 32 as municipal PC standing committee vice-chairpersons and 2084 as municipal PC standing committee members.
What is noteworthy is the fact that in recent years in the nationwide reelections at the grassroots district and county people’s deputies, some intellectuals began to recommend themselves for election as people’s deputies. For example, in May 2003 Wang Liang, director of Shenzhen Senior School of Technology with a Master Degree from abroad, won the elections at the city’s Futian district as an independent candidate. In December, 22 voters in Beijing sought for candidate nominations, among them there were 10 intellectuals from colleges and universities, six scholars and lawyers and six property owners such as individual and private business owners.. Among them, Xu Zhiyong, teacher of Beijing Post and Telegraph University and others were elected district and county people’s deputies in Beijing municipality.
——CPPCC committee members: Access into CPPCC committees at all levels is another important channel for intellectuals’ participation in the deliberation and administration of state affairs. Among the 2196 national committee members of the 9th CPPCC, 1389 had senior professional and technical titles, 142 were academicians of the China Academy of Sciences and the China Academy of Engineering. Most of them were non-Party intellectuals. AT the national and local people’s political consultative conferences at all levels, non-Party personages usually occupied about 2/3. Among the national committee members of the 9th CPPCC, 1319 were non-Party personages, over 60% of the total. Among the 2003 reelected national committee members of the 10th, 337000 non-Party personages served as CPPCC committee members at various levels. Democratic parties and non-Party personages made up 60.1% of the CPPCC national committee members, 65.2% of the CPPCC NC Standing Committee members. Out of 24 vice-chairpersons, 13 were democratic-party members or non-Party personages. From this we can see intellectuals including non-Party ones constitute an important force for reliance in fulfilling the three major functions of political consultations, democratic supervision and the deliberation and administration of state affairs at the CPPCC organizations at all levels. They are in a very important position and role.
C. Providing Party and government advice for decision-making and publicity service
Since the introduction of reform and opening up, the Party and government organizations at all levels, especially the central, provincial and municipal leaderships have usually solicited opinions from experts and scholars before making decisions on major issues. Statistics showed that from December 2002 to November 2007, the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee held 45 collective study meetings on major issues and hot social topics, to hear the experts and scholars study reports on related issues. With the Central Committee as the example, governments at all levels strengthened the building of expertise consultation and appraisal on major administrative issues. For example, Beijing municipality set up Beijing People’s Government Expertise Consultation Corps in 1983. So far, 2000 experts and scholars have been invited from a number of scientific research institutes, colleges and universities and economic development departments. During the past decade or more, the municipal corps has engaged in nearly 10000 advisory activities. Experts and scholars have offered over 50000 recommendations and related messages for decision-making on more than 4000 major subjects for the economic and social development of the capital and in the appraisal and assessment of key project items.
Apart from providing Party and government organizations at all levels with advisory services for decision-making, the political participation role played by intellectuals in the liberal arts and social sciences is more often manifested in the compilation of teaching materials, classroom lecturing, academic reports, seminar speeches, articles and works, in which they have their say in political propositions. In between, there is not only symphonic music echoing the prevailing tune, but also discordant noise and din.
D. Joining political parties and non-government societies
——Joining the CCP. From 1979 – 1989 after the introduction of reform and opening up, 2.75 million intellectuals joined the CCP. The number of Party members accounted for nearly 1/3 of all professional technicians across the country.
In 2001, Jiang Zemin said in his address on July 1, “Party members from workers, peasants, intellectuals, soldiers and cadres are the basic composition and backbone force of our Party contingent. Meanwhile, we should also absorb into the Party the long-tested outstanding elements from other sectors of society who recognize the Party program and constitution, self-consciously fight for the Party line and program, and are qualified for Party membership, and constantly upgrade the ideological and political consciousness of the broad masses of Party members through the great furnace of the Party, so as to increase the impact and cohesion of our Party in the whole society.” Thereafter, large numbers of intellectuals were again absorbed into Party organizations. By the end of 2003, there were 37.661 million Party members with senior middle school education background, making up 55.2% of Party membership (out of which, those with college education and above accounted for 25.7%).
——Joining the democratic parties. Joining the democratic parties is another important channel for intellectuals to take an active part in Chinese political activity. The basic contents of democratic parties’ political participation are participation in the state regime, in the consultations on major general policies of the state and the election of state leaders, in the advisory discussions on the formulation and revision of state principles, policies, laws and regulations, in the administration of, and democratic supervision over, state affairs.
One of the important reasons for the quick recruitment of intellectuals in the democratic parties is that all the eight democratic parties have pointed to the intellectuals as their main targets of recruitment. The constitutions of the China Democratic League, China Association for Promoting Democracy, Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party, and China Zhi Gong Dang all stipulated explicitly those who apply for their memberships shall be intellectuals their parties are within the scope of contact and recruitment. For example, the targets of China Democratic League recruitment are intermediate and high level intellectuals engaged in culture and education work. Targets for China Association for Promoting Democracy are mainly medium and senior strata intellectuals engaged in education, culture and publishing work. By the end of 1998 there were half a million members of the democratic parties, of whom the overwhelming majority were intellectuals.
——Creating or joining non-government societies. Since the introduction of reform and opening up, along with the development of market economy, industrial structure, especially of the tertiary industry and all social undertakings, there have continuously emerged a number of intellectuals-based non-government societies and research institutes. In addition to the original student federation, federation of literary and art circles, China Association of Scientists and other people’s organizations, there are more and more new social organizations based on intellectuals, including academic societies like the China Society of Jurists, China Society of Administrators, China Society of Political Scientists, as well as organizations like the lawyers association, for charity and environmental protection, etc.
Besides, what calls for special attention is the fact that a section of intellectuals in the ideological field have created some non-government research institutes, such as Tianze Institute, Kaida Economists Consulting Center, China 50 –Strong Economic Forum, Shanghai Institute of Law and Economics, Beijing Strong Army Economic Research Center, Siyuan Research Center of Social Sciences, etc. Apart from self-created sources of their own, these institutes are to a large extent dependent on private businesses and patronage of the rich at home and on the funding from NGOs and foundations abroad for their financial sources. Consequently, their main line business is to provide research findings and information service for private run enterprises and foreign institutions from where they get their financial sources. Meanwhile they try their utmost to impact or even orientate the state policy, the social trends and public opinion.
E. Make comments via all media to affect public opinion and reform orientation
With the accelerated development of market-oriented reform and opening up as well as social ramification and pluralized interests, people are freer and freer in articulating their views and interests. By way of the need of all media to expand their impact and the need for market economy effects, the intellectuals in the ideological field are making comments more and more frequently and with ever increasing impact. Intellectuals engaged in the studies of all sorts of problems have more and more opportunities to make comments, including political ones on the media. With the interactions of traditional media and networks the comments by intellectuals are impacting the society with a velocity, width and depth unheard of before the onset of reform and opening up. Despite the diversity of what they deal with and speak on, and the diversity of ideological viewpoints they hold and political tinges they smack of, they are of some impact, big or small, direct or indirect, on China’s public opinion and its orientation of reform.
III. Emergence and Basic Condition of Media Elite
A salient change of contemporary Chinese intelligentsia per se and their role in social pursuits is the emergence of media elite. By media elite here it is meant the individuals and social groups who actively disseminate their own ideological viewpoints, values, political propositions in the ideological field in a bid to affect public opinion, guide the ideological trends of development and affect ruling party’s value and government policymaking. Members of the media elite mostly have medium and senior educational records. Most of them work in educational departments, Party and government organs, research institutes of social sciences, cultural and art organizations, and news communication industries. They usually have a strong sense of social participation and their own ideological viewpoints, social ideals and cultural propositions. The backbone elements and the most active ones re the so-called “opinion leaders” and “public intellectuals.”
As a social group, the “media elite” is of increasing impact on the building of China’s mass ideological and political conception under reform and opening up and market economy conditions, especially on the formation of values for the younger generation. Their impact on China’s orientation of economic, political, cultural and social development and changes is increasingly to be reckoned with. Among them there are not only those who uphold Marxism and flaunt the central theme ideology in China, but also those who hold non-Marxist and anti-Marxist views different from or antagonistic to the mainstream ideological viewpoints. Therefore, within the social group there have always been acute ideological struggles among the media elite, who have consistently crossed swords with their clashing values and concepts to create public opinion and affect the state and society.
By the way we have to mention and explain the usage of the Chinese term “jingying” (elite) which has a tint of values and ideologies. It is a term implying not only laudation of somebody or a section of people being extraordinary, outstanding, towering over others as the cream, but also derogatory of those who presume themselves to be the “best and brightest,” who claim to be wiser and more talented than others, playing a more important role than the common people, and hence riding roughshod over the masses and gesticulating at them. The derogative implication does not comply with the values of the CCP, as stipulated in the second article in the first chapter of its constitution, “Members of the CCP shall always remain ordinary laborers.” That is why Chinese Marxists and communists never use the term “elite” to refer to the advanced elements, outstanding figures, and backbone force in the people’s cause of socialism, still less to claim themselves as “elite” elements. The use of “elite” in the current study report as a neutral term to denote all those who take active actions and have some impact on China’s ideological field is simply for the sake of convenience of expression.
1. Emergence of media elite
Along with the establishment, operation and development of socialist market economy in China, Chinese society throws its door ever-wider open to the outside world, coupled with a deep-seated change in social structure. Prompted by the cultural and press and publications restructuring, China’s mass media are booming into a mode of important social activities and clashes among different ideological viewpoints. In such a context, there has been a tremendous change among the intelligentsia, as mentioned previously. The fact that the media elite began to take shape and surfaced in the 1990s was an inevitable outcome and conspicuous manifestation of the change.
A. Conditions for its emergence
The emergence of “media elite” in contemporary China can be attributed to the following objective conditions: (a) the diversity of social strata and group interests in consequence of diversified ownerships; (b) the readjustment of CCP policy on intellectuals and the change of work mode in the ideological field; (c) the innovated information communication means brought forth by the popularization of information communication; and (d) the market-oriented operation of the mass media.
——Interest articulation demands of various social strata and groups. Along with the profound changes in China’s economic structure, and its modes of organization, employment, interest relations and distribution, under the overall development situation of social members getting rid of poverty and gradually getting better off, there appeared such new problems and situations as widening gap between the rich and poor, and the wide discrepancy between the advantaged and disadvantaged in economic and social status. The contradictions are sharpening among the various social strata and groups with regard to interest conflicts and ill conformities. They all have the need to articulate their economic and political appeals to the society and state regime. The “disadvantaged” usually refers to the ordinary workers and farmers, especially the newly emerging laid-off workers, migrant workers and farmers who lost the land in the course of reform. In terms of interest articulation, they first of all place their hopes on the CCP-led government and the intellectuals who defend and represent their interests. The “advantaged,” on the other hand, refers mainly to the new social strata and interest groups who got rich first, especially the economic, political and cultural elite among them. They are more inclined to get the “media elite” to create a sensation for their interests and have the superiority in resources and impact to do so. Through condemning current evils, commenting or criticizing the current policy, law and institutional system, they demand that the ruling party and state push and deepen the reform efforts according to the pattern of their design so that their vested interests and development requirements are policy-protected and are kept under the sustained and stable protection of law and institutional system. The superiority of the “advantaged” in resources and impact constitutes an important reason for the existence and boom of the media elite group who speak in favor of their economic and political interests.
In short, the “media elite” is not a unity of identical discourse. It comprises those who speak for the advantaged and those who speak for the disadvantaged. The former do not play the leading role in China’s political pursuits and mainstream media, but do often have relative superiorities over and impact on the theoretical discourse in the academic circles, the ideological viewpoints of the young audience, the institutional fringes and extra-institutional media and public opinion.
——Adjustment of CCP policy on intellectuals and change in the mode of ideological work. After the onset of reform and opening up, the CCP continued to stress that intellectuals should uphold serving the people and the cause of socialism, and remolding their subjective world while remolding the objective world. It continued to stress that “Schools of all grades and categories should conscientiously implement the educational policy of serving the socialist modernization drive, integrating with productive labor, and fostering builders and successors with all round moral, intellectual and physical development. But in terms of actual implementation, this was weakened to some extent. The consequential repeated influxes of ideological trends of bourgeois liberalization in the 1980s led to the serious disturbances in 1989 that shocked China and the rest of the world. Therefore Deng Xiaoping pointed out, “The incident is in essence antagonism between bourgeois liberalization and the persistence of the four cardinal principles (of Party leadership, people’s democratic dictatorship, socialism and Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought). Not that we did not speak of four persistence’s, ideological and political work, combating bourgeois liberalization and spiritual pollution, but that we lacked consistence, we did not act, and even spoke very little about them. The error did not lie in the four persistence’s themselves, but in the inconsistence of them, and the poor quality of education, of ideological and political work.”
Since the 1990s the CCP and government have focused on adapting its ideological work to the changes in domestic and external situations after the onset of reform and opening up, and improving its mode of ideological and political work. On the one hand, they strengthened education with positive publicity as the main form in an effort to develop the keynote. On the other hand, they adopted the mode of no controversy, treatment in low profile with regard to the erroneous trends of ideological development and erroneous comments, so as to guard against the proliferation of their ideological and political influence in society. But many situations proved that the liberal “media elite” and the mass media that are zealous about scrambling for audiences, and market economy effects through spreading erroneous trends of thought, instead of lowering their profile, thought there were loopholes for them to exploit, and went on dashing at and breaking through the political baseline of the four cardinal principles under the name of upholding reform and opening up and by taking advantage of all topics of discussions. They propagated the radical change of the established institutional system, and embark on the road of multi-party competition, liberalism, democracy and constitutional government in the Western countries while, on the other hand, the intellectuals who upheld the struggle against all the forces opposing the four cardinal principles and their ideological trends, fettered by the official mode of “no controversy”, and “treatment in a low profile”, were often reduced to an unfavorable position as a result of lack of official support, and were often attacked by the opposite side as “ultra-Left,” and stigmatized by some media and social opinion as “ossified” and “conservative.”
——Information communication and mass media boom provides a platform for the rise of “media elite” . Since the onset of reform and opening up, China, accompanied with the extended opening up and personal independent awareness, has phased into the information era. Information directly concerns the development of the individuals and their interest procurement. It has increasingly become an important and indispensable social demand, which is first of all manifested in the demand of the intellectuals. For example, a survey shows that the audience interested in world news consisted in urban intellectuals in the 1980s, and extended to the vast countryside in the 1990s. The advent of information era provided an opportunity in the epoch for the rapid development of hi- tech communication means and mass media, and for the emergence of “media elite” in the publicity, ideological and cultural fields.
The revolutionary change in contemporary China’s means of communication brought with it a qualitative leap in the industrial structure, quantities, form and functions of the mass media. In 2005 there were nearly 2100 newspapers, nearly 600 publishing houses, nearly 300 broadcasting stations, more than 300 TV stations, 320 audio-visual publishing units, 121 electronic publishing units and nearly 700000 Internet websites in China. The size of the audience grew drastically, with the broadcasting and TV coverage rate hitting 90 % of the country’s 1.3 billion population. According to the latest statistics of China Internet development released by CNNIC on January 17, 2008, “By December 2007, the number of Chinese netizens had increased to 210 million, ranking only second to the US that boasted 215 million. It was forecast that in a month or so, China’s netizen population would come first.” Among them, 52.62 million were in the countryside. Most of the netizen are young people, whose ages between 18 – 24 accounting for 31.8%.
The introduction of new media technologies and means of communication diversified the channels of information communication, enriched their contents and functions, expanded their space and audience as never before, boosted the rapid development of media units and personnel and brought about increasingly cut-throat market competition. All these provided the “media elite” unprecedented conveniences and occasions to directly articulate and proliferate their personal ideological viewpoints and political propositions via information communication media, and changed the original mechanism and mode of public opinion so that public opinion was formed with greater speed, in greater scope, and with greater impact, thus immensely increasing the social impact of the “media elite.” It is particularly worth mentioning that the information-swapping dialogue modes of BBS, blog, and broadcaster that appeared in the wake of Internet had become an important means and channel for the “media elite” to affect the audience and acquire their feedbacks with vividness, intuitiveness and interactions.
——The market-oriented operation of mass media prompted the emergence of “media elite.” The market-oriented reform gradually changed the previous complete reliance of newspaper agencies, broadcasting and TV stations on state financial appropriations into partial reliance on them while becoming increasingly dependent on business management that relied on absorption of social capital and self-funding, bearing the responsibility for gain or loss; hence, more and more attentive to self economic effects. To enhance economic returns, many mass media vied with each other in creating eye-catching name brand programs to meet market demand and popular tastes, expand their scope of audience and increase advertising revenues. Among the competitive measures they adopted, one was to scramble for “rare” resources, recruiting “famous scholars” and “public figures” to cooperate with them, utilize their reputation and impact to enhance their own attractiveness, thus speculating on some intellectuals in the ideological field into “media elite” who gained both fame and fortune. Prompted by such a mode of operation, there came forth a greater number of “famous scholars,” and “public figures” swelling the “media elite” so that it scaled up to quite a great dimension.
B. The process of “media elite” maturing
The formation of “media elite” by and large underwent the three stages of debut, prominence and popularization.
Debut of “media elite.” The cultural heat that arose in the mid-1980s provided the intellectuals with a platform for ideological and discourse impact and social interference.. The context of reform and opening up drove them to become attentive to realities, reflect on history and worship pluralized ideological, academic and cultural tendencies. There were few mass media at the time. The focus of attention was rather concentrated. A fiction or an article in Beijing’s Book Digest, or Shanghai’s Book Forest would become a hot topic for the intelligentsia and even the whole society. As the diversified interests of social groups were not so apparent at the time, the topics of discussions mostly concentrated on the academic and ideological fields. Participants were mostly scholars, teachers and university students and other intellectuals. The scope of impact was limited, but still combined to form repeated hotspots in public opinion, exerting a considerable social influence. For example, in the mid-1980s, the polemics on the application of Western philosophy to China triggered a hotspot of considerable impact in public opinion in the cultural and theoretical fields. On the other hand, the political TV film Sorrows of the Yellow River gave rise to a torrential political debate and opinion currency. Intellectuals holding different views and viewpoints vied with each other in expressing themselves, not only forming a topic of social hit, but also a hit in social opinion with strong political hues at one time. The active elements were mostly representative figures at the time or later of certain ideological trends. In the struggle against spiritual pollution and bourgeois liberalization in the 1980s there emerged two groups of intellectuals with diametrically different political ideas and opposite viewpoints. A group was intellectuals upholding the guiding position of Marxism in the ideological field, and upholding the mainstream ideology. The other group was ringleaders persisting in clamoring the trend of bourgeois liberalization. These two groups, particularly the latter group, could be described as the debutant “media elite” in contemporary China. They had quite a profound impact on the intelligentsia and young students, but their impact on the public was rather limited. After the disturbances in 1989, the two groups of intellectuals went in for frequent confrontation of ideas as two opposites fighting against each other in the continuous progress and deepening of China’s market-oriented reform, with each group winning or losing as the domestic and external political climate and economic and social development changed
Prominence of “media elite.” Since the 1990s, with the increase of mass media coupled with their structural and functional development, and further expanded need for information, the “media elite” has gradually come under the limelight of the mass media, and presented themselves as a relatively independent social group. During this period of time, along with the greater demand for various sorts of comments and other styles of articles, the manuscripts from research institutes and higher institutes of learning were in short supply, the channels of publishing books and magazines were gradually opening up and on the increase, intellectuals had smoother channels of comments, the “media elite” became ever more activated, they were also growing in size and began to arouse wider attention.
“Popularization” of the “media elite.” The emergence of Internet towards the end of the 1990s enormously pushed the development of the “media elite” as a social group. The powerful communication functions of Internet began to prevail in China towards the end of the 1990s. They displaying an ever wider and deeper impact on China’s public opinion and political pursuits as the 21st century ushered in. the hypothetical nature of Internet immensely increased the survival space of the media elite. An increasing number of people and social groups could make whatever comment they liked in the Internet and disseminate various ideological viewpoints and political propositions. The advent of the Internet era and the formation of a new world served as a catalyst to the boom of new professionals like free-lance contributors, net editors, net writers and community page owners so that the mode of “media elite” generation, the dimensions of mass entity, the means of media impact flourished and the “media elite” gained grounds in popularity. Especially with the boom of newly emerging media form represented by blog since 2005, individuals have been enabled to manufacture net magazines, electronic books, musical videos and ordinary netizens have been enabled to become famous net writers, political commentators and commentators on social issues on the net. This stands as a new phenomenon and important factor affecting the Chinese ideological field, the public opinion and political pursuits. Creating and affecting public opinion via the mass media is no longer the customary means confined to the “elite” elements with relatively high knowledge qualities and considerable social renown; it is also an important way for ordinary netizens to gain access into the public discourse space, and articulate their appeals. Here it is necessary to make mention of China’s relatively lagging regulation on Internet control and the development of related technical means. The Chinese net is very liberal in speech. The “four great freedoms” as “speak whatever one likes, air views without limit, hold mass debates and write big character posters” deleted in the 1982 Constitution after the “cultural revolution” do exist to varying degrees in the Chinese net world and as a matter of fact become a constant phenomenon.
2. The structure and special features of the “media elite” as a social group
By roles in the formation of public opinion, the “media elite” can be divided into two categories: the creators of ideological opinion and the organizers of communication. While the former concentrates on the creation and direct articulation of the contents, and plays a front stage role in a certain sense in the formation of public opinion, the latter concentrates on the planning, organizing and implementation of a certain viewpoint or the formation and communication of public opinion. They play two different roles, playing their parts separately and interdependently.
A. Structure as a social group
By the role they play in the formation of public opinion, the “media elite” can be categorized into providers of information and organizers of information communication
——Creators of ideological opinion. In political viewpoints, the “media elite” can be divided into “Left,” central and right. In vocational delineation, it is more complicated. There are scholars, officials, entrepreneurs, writers, free-lance writers, net writers, editors, correspondents, page owners, program anchors, etc. Among them the information provider is an individual or group possessing some communicative ideological and discourse to provide. The ideas are communicable because they can represent and reflect or meet the demand of a certain section of people of society, big or small, in their views or interests on social issues. They are the processors and active providers of certain theoretical discourse and conceptual propositions in the academic world and prevalent in society. They are usually ideological, theoretical and cultural workers with some social reputation. As a rule, they have a definite aim or intention to affect public opinion and play guiding role in it in what they articulate. The provider of information can be n individual, or a group of people sharing identical or similar views, including the exponents or followers of a certain trend of thought.
A more detailed analysis reveals that around a handful of chief providers of information for the formation of a certain ideology and public opinion there are usually a number of followers who can explain their ideological viewpoints, transform them into popular discourse, and for a certain ideological trend and public opinion. Generally speaking, the exponents of the media elite feature a higher degree of abstract thinking. Their viewpoints and propositions mostly exist in theoretical form and are characterized by difficult and vague ideological terminology. They are often not “communicable” from contents to form, and usually are not directly comprehensible and acceptable to the spectators. Judging from laws governing modern communication, their ideological viewpoints have to go through some setters or followers to turn the academic terminology into popular language and achieve the social effects of affecting the mass ideas and public opinion tacitly through making selected and inclined description, evaluation and digest of large amounts of social events. Due to the increasing diversity of China’s social and economic interests and ideological and values orientations after the onset of reform and opening up, the public’s identity on a certain idea or reform proposition is no longer the result of official publicity and indoctrination, but rather from what they hear and see on the superficial phenomenon of all social issues and events in their realistic lives. In this process the media reports of information and the comments and analyses with governing intentions and guiding ideological tendencies will play a direct or even decisive role in affecting the formation of public feelings and public opinion.
——The organized communicator of ideological information. This section of media elite grasp the practical power to operate the screening of news raw materials, sketch the communication contents and interview topics, directly communicate to the populace and create public opinion. These mainly involve the mass media insiders including the editors, correspondents, anchors and media managers.
Among them, the media managers, including the editor in chief, the director general, the net operator, the interfering service provider, the website chief, the forum edition host, and the anchor, all are empowered to define the principles of media reporting, plan the operational strategy, and re responsible for organizing, managing and controlling the media insiders, column activity contents behind-the-scenes. They play the vital and key role in the formation of public opinion. They can decide on what to report and in what form to report, whose article and what tendency of an article to be selected. They have the right to make directional grasp of ideological contents and political viewpoints for information communication, to manifest the standpoint, ideological tendency and underlining political tune of the mass media. But as the mass media managers cannot possibly take charge of every detail of information communication, the media operators are also vested with great power; hence, there are often cases of operators prevailing over the managers in the mass media, including the official mainstream media, i.e., the media get out of control in information communication and opinion steering.
B. Features as a social group
——Pluralized occupational structure of the personnel. The personnel structure of “media elite” is very complicated, involving many professions. Apart from media insiders, there are the following main categories:
(a) Personages of special identity “within the institutional system”: such as well-known figures within the Party like Li Shenzhi, Li Rui, Ren Zhongyi, Zhu houze, Ma Bin and Wei Wei. As they are veteran comrades with revolutionary seniority, most of them once assumed high ranking leading positions within the Party. Among them, some are concurrently veteran scholars, such as Liu Guoguang, Yu Guangyuan and Xie Tao. Thus, despite their diametrical opposite political stands and theoretical viewpoints, their articles and speeches are of certain “authoritarian features’ exerting an influence to be reckoned with.
(b) Famous scholars. Most of them are so-called reputed scholars engaged in the studies of economics, jurisprudence, philosophy, sociology, and political science in liberal arts and social sciences, such as Li Yining, Wu Jinglian, Mao Yushi, Jiang Ping, Wang Xiaodong, He Weifang, Zhang Weiying, Han Deqiang, Huang Jisu, Liu Junning and Xu Youyu. Their articles often refer to highly sensitive social realities and historical issues, to the issues in the ideological field, social, economic, political and cultural systems as well as structural reform. As they are of certain distinctive ideological and political tendencies and of representative hues, plus their relatively high academic position and considerable academic accomplishments, they have quite a strong impact on the academic circles and are given doubled attention in public opinion.
© famous correspondents, editors, columnists, commentators and anchormen. They are active in the mass media, usually have a position in which to have their say, such as Lin Zhibo, Ding Gang, Ma Licheng, Ling Zhijun, Bai Yansong, Cui Yongyuan, Song Xiaojun, Li Datong, Lu Yaogang.
(d) Net writers. These refer to netizens who are rather famous on the net and whose articles on the net have high rates of clicking and transfer, such as those under the pseudo names of “mathematics,” “pale clouds and warm waters,” “Li Yang,” “Lao Tian,” “XianYan,” and “Xiaan Yan.” They often express their own view on major issues, hotspots and issues of diverse views and conflicting viewpoints via the newly emerging Internet. The impact of their comments is so great that they are referred to as “opinion leaders” on the Internet.
(e) Free-lance contributors. They are of a social group of professionals that has debuted after the onset of reform and opening up. They live off on personal incomes from free-lance contribution to various media. Among them there are ones whose viewpoints comply with the ideological tune of certain media and the topics they discuss arouse social concerns; hence, also having squeezed into the ranks of “media elite.”
——Teeming with young and middle-aged people. There is a big age gap among the media elite, ranging from around thirty-year olds and seventy – eighty year olds. But the young and middle-aged occupy the majority. Take correspondents for example. According to the statistics of the press and publishing administration, by the end of January 2005, out of the 150,000 journalists in China, those between 20 – 40 year-olds made up 58%, and those above 50 only 20%. As for some newly established news media, the average age of correspondents was even younger. For example, it was only 28.9 years for New Beijing News. The average age of network media professionals was even lower. According to information from the subject group, out of China’s eight key central news networks, the average age in Xinhua net employees was 33 the oldest of all, and only 26 in online international, the youngest of all. The average age of key and backbone news nets was all below 30, for example 28 at Zhejiang online, 29 at Ningbo online, and only 25 at Wenzhou online.
——With high educational levels. As a social group of intellectuals, the “media elite” has an overall high educational level, usually with university education backgrounds, many with master and doctoral degrees. Quite a number are returned scholars from USA, Britain and other Western countries. According to statistics of the press and publishing administration, by the end of January 2005 more than 98% of the editors and correspondents had college education background and above, with university graduates, Master Degree postgraduates and Doctoral Degree graduates making up 64%, 13% and 1% respectively, and tending to develop a structure of higher educational levels. Their professions are spread among almost all faculties covering liberal arts, technology, engineering and foreign languages. Among them, those majoring in journalism accounted for 30.6%, and in other liberal arts 56.2%, and in technology, engineering, agriculture and medicine 7.85 and in foreign languages 4.7%.
——Males occupying the majority. Few are the “opinion leaders” who often frequent the media. Reputed ones are merely Li Yinhe, Hu Shuli, Zhang Yi while the males constitute the overwhelming majority. Out of the news reporters, only 1/3 is females. By the end of January 2005, out of a total of 150,652 correspondents in China, 94,279 were males, 62.58 %; 56,373 were females, 37.42%.
——Spread around big cities geographically. The “media elite” is geographically distributed in an ill-balanced way, mostly concentrating in economically and culturally developed large and medium-sized cities, especially centered round Beijing. By geographical distribution, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangdong, Shandong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and other economically developed regions boast more media insiders while Qinghai, Tibet, Gansu, Ningxia, Yunnan, Guizhou and other economically underdeveloped regions are lack of media insiders. As a result of personnel mobility, like other sections of professional and technical personnel, media insiders present two flow directions: first towards economically developed southeast coastal regions and towards the politically and cultural central metropolitans.
According to the statistics of the subject group, the overwhelming majority of opinion leaders on the Internet work at Beijing’s higher institutes of learning and research institutes. The free-lance contributors in the Beijing region are leading throughout the country, in number or in reputation.
——In millions. It is difficult to make accurate quantitative statistics of the “media elite” as it is a complicated group structure. But there can be a rough estimate of its basic structure. According to media reports and the subject group’s information, by the end of 2006, there were 750000 editors and correspondents in China’s traditional media, and the number of those on the net hit 3 million, by far higher than those in the traditional ones. It is difficult to give the estimate of the number of free-lance contributors. Active netizens that frequently have their say on the net are numerous. There are millions of users and blogs registered in community forums. Although only a small proportion of these people can claim to be “media elite,” the absolute figure is not to be underestimated. A rough estimate would show over a million at the minimum.
——A big gap in incomes. There is a tremendous income gap inside the group that can be referred to as “media elite.” Generally speaking, the information providers make great incomes. The royalties and lecture fees of certain famous scholars are far greater than their wages and some of them go in for stock and housing speculation and other business investment and operations. Owners of property up to ten million or even hundred million yuan RMB are by no means isolated cases. Usually a professor’s lecture fee may run up to about 1000 yuan per class hour. And that of some famous scholars, especially the economists, could go beyond 10000 yuan. It was reported that when a city in the western part of the country invited a famous economist to deliver a lecture, he offered a preferential price of 80000 yuan as a gesture in favor of the poor western areas.
A 2003 sina.net survey of the media insiders working and living conditions showed that 17.79% of them received a monthly income below 1500 yuan; 38.78%, 1500 – 3000 yuan; 24.39%, 3000 – 5000 yuan; 10.01%, 5000 – 7000 yuan; 5.28%, 7000 – 10000 yuan; and 3.75%, more than 10000 yuan. That is to say, 56.57% of the media insiders received a monthly income of less than 3000 yuan.
Judging from the local average income of workers and staff in the seven central key news nets in the urban areas of Beijing municipality, the maximum monthly income is about 5000 yuan, and the minimum stands at 3000 yuan, i.e., 2000 yuan higher than the per capita income in Beijing. But for the young workers and staff who hail from other parts of the country and stay behind in Beijing after college and university graduation, the average monthly income of 3000 yuan is just enough for a living of adequate food and clothing in Beijing, because even if the employer provides them dormitories for the unmarried, they have to pay a monthly rent of 600 – 1000 yuan and to face the economic pressure of buying an apartment, marriage, childbirth and sending children to nurseries and school.
Most free-lance contributors earn very little. The royalties of periodicals stand at 30 – 100 yuan per thousand Chinese characters. The appearance of an article up to 10000 Chinese characters would mean only 300 – 1000 yuan in royalties. It was reported that a free-lance contributor got a royalty of 8000 plus yuan a year while he earned over 2000 yuan per month when he worked at the Chinese essay writers association previously.
——A minority feeling fine while the majority are discontented. The media elite exists as a pluralized complicated social group with a wide spectrum of surviving conditions. The few information providers who can claim to be “opinion leaders” in the media are mostly well-known college and university faculty members, reputed scholars in state-run or non-government research institutes, and renowned free-lance contributors who have gained popularity. They can frequent all sorts of seminars, forums, lectures home and abroad, and publish articles in domestic and foreign media, accepting interviews. They have access to high economic incomes and many sources of income, living a rich life and enjoying a high social status, also exerting a big influence at the same time. As for the majority of those who constitute the “media elite,” they are not very happy about the living conditions, for they face quite a big pressure of employment, work and survival. A scholar lamented, “Some journalists are becoming migrant news reporters even deprived of the elementary rights.”
The great majority of new insiders of quite a number of mass media are deprived of social security and welfare. A survey showed that 50% of the media insiders went without any social insurance. 60.3% have not signed any labor contract with the employer. Deprived of security, they are obviously in a disadvantaged position in labor relations. (Note 2) A 2003 sina.net survey found 80% of domestic reporters in sub-healthy conditions, only 57.21% of them had signed a labor contract with the employer and 57.13% had set up relations of social security. 42.64% of those surveyed were not entitled to vacations and holidays. 58.12% considered themselves as overburdened and 58.37% felt fatigued. 28.53% had to work ten or more hours per day.
Ordinary free-lance contributors find themselves on the fringe of the media insiders. What is most attractive to the youngsters in the profession is freedom, but in practical life, this “freedom” costs them too much. The social identification of the free-lance contributors isn’t high either, as they are being marginalized. Without high reputation, having royalties on the lower side, and living under great pressure of survival, ordinary free-lance contributors can only select their themes of writing according to the needs of the media and to the flavor and taste of the readers. They live an undisciplined life and find themselves in poor health. Due to lack of a formal employer, they are regarded as “jobless wanderers” and subjected to “discriminations” in many aspects.
IV. Impact of Media Elite
The “media elite” has an extensive impact on China’s economic, cultural, political, and diplomatic fields, ranging from the positive to the negative impact, from impact on ideology and values to impact on mass psychology and social stability, from impact on government decision-making to impact on social members identification of the government, and from domestic to international impact.
1. Basic modes of media elite affecting public opinion
Following are the main forms of “media elite” with diverse ideological trends in using the mass media to affect, manufacture, communicate and form a certain viewpoint in the public opinion:
A. Forge “personal impact” to effect public opinion results
Forge the “personal impact” of information providers in the mass media, take advantage of their opinions’ “authoritarian features,” to impact on the public so as to attract more ideological parrots and discourse communicators, and thus to achieve the purpose of orienting the ideological and public opinion. As far as the organizational managers information, this mode often costs very little but yields abundantly
At present, many newspapers and magazines have rolled out “special columns for celebrities.” Many broadcasting and TV stations put in place interviews with and forums by noted scholars, such as the so-called “great scholarly halls,” and “great lecture halls.” A great many academic websites set up “Main pages of the scholars. Some portal websites and comprehensive websites set up “blog” columns of the media elite, and so on and so forth. In this aspect, the media with liberal tints or ideological trends seem to be more active and are more skilled and inclined to adopt such a mode. For example, an article that appeared in the Southern China Figures Weekly issue no. 9, 2004 made a great fanfare in rolling out a name list of so-called “public intellectuals” dominated by liberal scholars. Many websites persisting in liberal ideological standpoints set up first pages or online with the academic columns and personal WebPages of such liberal leaders like Li Shenzhi, Yuan Weishi, Cao Siyuan, He Weifang and Liu Junning.
The main reason why the liberal media elite put up Li Shenzhi as a banner was that they had a covetous eye on his special identity and impact. They declared, “By saying Li Shenzhi is the leader of liberalism in China today, we do not mean to say the he was the first identifier of liberalism, the one who dug the deepest into liberalism, nor do we mean to say that he guided a batch of people to identify and champion liberalism. To put it more accurately, he was the liberalist of the greatest seniority, with the greatest prestige and impact in contemporary China. We must attribute the formation of a liberalist contingent and its moderate acclimatization to his irreplaceable and unmatched role, and to his starring role in upholding the banner of liberalism.”
Granted many titles such as Cao Bankruptcy, Cao Constitutional Government, Cao Parliament, Cao Siyuan is a highly active element, a well-known dissident figure at home and abroad. Within a short span of several years, he delivered hundreds of lectures home and abroad and published more than 20 works including Privatization: The Proper Ways of the World. Asia Weekly appraised him as one of the “fifty celebrities impacting China’s new century.” Some media at home lauded him as a “state policy specialist outside the Red Wall,” and a “think-tank for the Chinese reform.”
B. Take advantage of name brand media and columns to expand the scope of impact on public opinion
After years of forging effort, name brand media and columns have created special features of their own and drawn quite a massive audience. Articles published or comments made via them can be easily spread extensively to impact the public opinion. A 2003 China New Center survey revealed a list of the local and national media with the greatest impact, public trust and the most robust growth. most of the students of journalism and journalist insiders interviewed by the subject group identified the survey findings.
China’s Media with Greatest Impact and Public Trust in 2003
Category Greatest impact (index) Greatest public trust (index)
1．Economics newspapers and magazines 21st Century Economic Report（82） Economic Daily （85）
2．IT newspapers and magazines Computer World （71） China Computer World （73）
3．Sports newspapers and magazines Sports Weekly（89） Sports Weekly （72）
4．Journalist newspapers and magazines Southern China Weekend （91） Global Times （89）
5．Journalist magazines Sanlian Life Weekly （68） China News Weekly （65）
6．Journalist websites sina.com (85) people’s net（78）
7．Economics magazines Finances and Economics Magazine （82） China Entrepreneurs （76）
A survey by the subject group found that among the media that saw rising impact and obviously expanded scope of impact in recent years there were magazines like Annals of China Legends, Internal Publication of the Reform, Study Times, Beijing Daily’s Theoretical Weekly, as well as websites like China Elections and Governance, The Utopian Township, The Banner of Mao Zedong Thought Fly High, and People’s net: Forum on Making China Strong.
Many members of media elite known how to utilize name brand media and columns to expand their impact on the public opinion On January 11, 2006, Professor Yuan Weishi with Zhongshan University’s Philosophy Department published an article on Modernization and Textbook on History with typical liberalist tendency in the Icy Point Weekly of China Youth Daily, glorifying the aggression by Western imperialism and declaring modernization as capitalism, advocating negation of the “anti-imperialist and anti-feudal historical theme in modern China.” The appearance of that article stirred up an uproar in public opinion. Many patriotic students and readers, history workers who uphold Marxism and netizens interrogated and criticized the article on the Internet. As a matter of fact, viewpoints articulated in the Internet several years ago that were similar to those of Yuan Weishi did once trigger a polemic on a limited scale and in a limited scope. The sensational effects this time were apparently directly related to the impact of the name brand column of Icy Point Weekly.
C. Deliberately set up topics to scramble for orienting ideological discourse and public opinion
Deliberately selecting topics and setting up information communication contents and their structural proportion is a constant method to affect media impact and orientate public opinion. Media with diverse ideological viewpoints and political tendencies are all very attentive to this. At present some media in China resort to give the green light to articles propagating the superiorities of the system of Western developed countries, and exposing the historical and realistic gloomy features of China and other socialist countries under all pretexts while imposing very strict control on comments assaulting US hegemony and exposing Western social evils. This from one side shows that the spotlight rate and impact of media elite with liberalist tendency are to some extent higher than those with other tendencies. It is true that some intellectuals who uphold mainstream ideology and values often appear before the public vision, but do so mostly to meet the needs of state current events and ideological publicity. Their remarks are of scarce concern to the public, and are often depreciated as “official jargon” and “empty verbiage” not in compliance with actualities, while on the other hand, the media elite opposed to liberalist ideological trend, including the old and new “Leftists,” are often dismissed as “idealists” or “dogmatists” who cannot read the trends of the times, or have lost the sense of the realities, and have limited impact on the academic world and the middle and senior social strata.
After the 2005 terrorist attacks on London, a netizen called Xian Yan (also Xiaan Yan) who was referred to by the liberalists as the “defender of the Chinese government” published articles like Why I did not Condemn Terrorists for Storming London” on Tianya and Kaidi websites, saying, “As the citizens of the United States and Britain extensively supported the Iraqi War with its tremendous civilian casualties, as they had the capacity to influence the government decision-making under the democratic system, they had an unshakable responsibility for the faults of the war. The citizens of such democratic countries must bear the responsibility for the external action of the countries.” Because this argument was different from the mainstream viewpoints of the two websites, the net editors not only placed the flux of articles critical of Xian Yan’s argument on top, but also went so far as to completely ban his remarks and those in his support. Xian’s articles were treated in the same way on other Chinese websites at home and abroad that styled themselves as “liberal and democratic.” Thus, Xian Yan wrote an article entitled “Undemocratic ‘Democrats’ and Non-liberal ‘Liberalists,’” exposing “those who stand for freedom of speech are out just for their own freedom of speech while denying it to the ‘dissidents.’” This incident had a great impact on the Internet. It brought home to more netizens the true features of liberalist network elite as speech despots and hegemony wielders in public discourse. Some netizens think such an “incident” showed nets are not an absolutely free ideological world, which is also plagued with “speech autocracy'" and “discourse hegemony.”
That The Southern China Weekend regarded by many as a “fortress” of the Chinese liberal intellectuals is closely connected with its undisguised ideological and political hues. The subject group was informed in its investigations that under the pretext of combating “Leftism,” Ma Licheng, former editor of the Current Events Commentator Department of People’s Daily, one of the media elite members who kept rolling out liberalist “masterpieces,” published an article entitled New Concepts in Ties with Japan in Strategy and Management Issue No. 6, 2002, opening charging the criticism by the Chinese public of Japan’s denial of its crime in invading China and its revision of the history textbook as “nationalist craziness,” arguing that Japan had apologized to China for 21 times for its aggressive war against China, that the historical issues between China and Japan had been settled, and that the Chinese side should not keep grasping them all the time, and so on and so forth. The article triggered public indignation of most netizens once it appeared. For this sake, scholars like Liu Ning and Wang Xiaodong co-authored an article in rational refutation of Ma Licheng’s New Concept in Ties with Japan. They contributed it to Southern China Weekend and Southern China Metropolitan News, but it was rejected. However, Southern China Weekend came up very quickly with an article entitled “I Plead for Sino-Japanese Reconciliation” --- an Interview with Ma Lichen, author of New Concept in Ties with Japan --- Sino-Japan Worries among the Common People” The next year, its twin magazine “South Wind Window” came up with another article under the title of Ma Licheng’s further talk on “New Concept in Ties with Japan.” Again for example, countering the hot discussions of the public on the draft Law on Real Rights, Southern China Weekend on February 23, 2006 published in quick succession four articles with very strong tendencies, which the netizens considered as “four heavy bombs” to railroad the draft through. Particularly in the reports, there was an article of interview with Professor Gong Xiantian, who held different views from the draft Law. The article deliberately portrayed Professor Gong as an “ossified, conservative and outmoded” old man with a cloth bag in his hand. The 2000-plus Chinese character report contained as many as ten errors including fabrications, distorted facts and communication of misinformation.”
Of course there was no lack of magazines and websites opposite to the tendencies of Southern China Weekend, such as China Soul magazine, Utopian Hometown, Global Vision, and the Banner of Mao Zedong Thought Flying High. Upholding the political standpoint of Marxism distinctively, China Soul criticized the evils of the times, attacked the liberal trend of thought and defended the guiding role of Marxism in the ideological field. With their respective distinctive features opposite to liberalism, utopian Hometown, Global Vision and the Banner of Mao Zedong Thought Fly High kept publishing articles critical of liberalism and expanded the impact of anti-liberal scholars and media elite.
But objectively speaking, compared with the impact of the liberalist communication camp, the impact of China Soul and other Leftist media is in a disadvantaged position. They find themselves to have too many difficulties to cope with at the same time, especially in funding. They are financially by far inferior to the China Elections and Governance Net funded by foreign foundations, and the portals of sina and sohu, which had voluminous operational incomes. Hence, in terms of media elite with different political standpoints and ideological tendencies and the combination of media of different conditions, the capacity of social trend communication and impact of mass media is directly proportional to the size of its financial source and capacity.
D. Utilize illegal publications and overseas media to circumvent the restrictions of state administrative and legal stipulations
The liberalist forces mostly adopt this mode in openly opposing China’s upholding the four cardinal principles. Illegal publications are mainly communicated in the following ways: (a) To have them published abroad first and then have them flow back; (b) To have them illegally printed within China for distribution; (c) To have them pirated at low cost for circulation; and (d) To have them manufactured into electronic books for Internet communication.
Following are the categories of illegal political publications that have wide currency:
The first category is formal publications at home the sale and increase of which the government officially bans, such as The Past Has Not Vanished like Smoke, Survey on China’s Farmers. According to the observation of the subject group members, many book vendors on Beijing streets are still selling such pirated books en mass at low price.
The second category is political works published abroad flooded with slanderous attacks, such as Memoirs of Mao Zedong’s Private Doctor, Zhou Enlai in His Later Years, Li Rui’s New Work: Message for the Next Century, How Did the Red Sun Rise, A Newly Discovered Mao Zedong, etc.
The third category is books privately edited, printed and spread to propagate liberalism and anti-socialist ideology, such as In Commemoration of Li Shenzhi, Selected Works of Li Shenzhi, Selected Works of Hu Jiwei, Collected Works of Harvey (X), etc.
The illegal political works as mentioned above aim to overthrow the mainstream ideology and fundamental state political system in China. Most of them are flooded with slanderous attacks and sensitive subversive contents that are ideologically and politically misleading to readers who are curious in searching but lack of judgment capacity.
It is noteworthy that some political members of media elite tried to publish their works abroad or in Hong Kong and Taiwan if they found it impossible to publish them in the country, such as Yang Jisheng’s The Political Struggle in China in the Years of Reform, Record of Zong Zhao Ziyang’s Talks under House Arrest by Zong Fengming and Li Rui with an Introduction by Bao Tong, etc. Once published, the works would be topics on which the media abroad would raise a great uproar. Such phenomenon shows that the liberalist forces home and abroad work hand in glove and work closely together in manufacturing ideological impact to sabotage China’s social security, and overthrow the Chinese political system.
Apart from overseas books, magazines, publications media, oversea Chinese media and websites were also the main positions and publicity channels they spread their ideological impact home and abroad. The Chinese websites they made use of or created were mainly the Voice of America, the Free Asia Broadcasting Station, BBC, Great Century, Erudition, Look at China, People’s Papers, Democratic China, Beijing’s Spring, Contention, Trends, Multi-dimensional Net, Myriad-dimensional Net, Enlarged Edition of Restricted Materials, Free Times, China Digest, Gazette, Open-up Magazine, Free News Herald, New Century, Chinese Affairs, Chinese Independent Pen Pals, and the Page of Tibet.
2. Media elite’s application of new-type media
As Internet and other new-type media feature strong communication functions, the media elite pays great attention to their application and often creates hot topics on Internet to prompt the reporting in traditional ones so as to legalize the topics for expanded impact to achieve certain anticipated effects and even network “polls.”
A. Set up websites to form ideological positions for the communication and confrontation of different viewpoints
The “media elite,” especially the young and middle-aged scholars who have the experience of studying abroad and higher educational records can quickly accept and apply Internet and other new media. Since the end of 1990s, with the gradual increase of Chinese netizens and development of net infrastructure, the Internet began to demonstrate its powerful communication functions. Many scholars vied with each other in setting up their own personal academic WebPages and even created their own ideological and cultural websites. Following are some of the more influential academic, ideological and cultural websites: Ideological Realm, Spa Consultation Net, Peking University Campus Comment, Yannan Net, Beida Delta, China Academic City, China Philosophy Net, Public Law Comment, Constitutional Government theory of Balance, China Elections and Governance Net, institutional Analysis and Public Policy, Century China, Shenzhou Ideological and Cultural Net, The Big Way, Under the Castor Tree, Left Turn, Red Five Stars, the Voice of Workers and Farmers, the Forum of Heroes, Contemporary International Broadcasting, Mao Zedong’s Flag, Utopian Hometown, Global Vision, etc. These websites with diverse ideological and political tendencies frequently carry out net debates on some social hotspots and major issues rarely seen in the traditional media to attract the participation and concern of more netizens, thus becoming media positions and battlefields for mass communication of diverse ideological and political viewpoints and embattled confrontation.
B. Apply diversified net communication to expand ideological impact on public opinion
The flexible, graphic and convenient modes of new communication such as BBS, blog and broadcaster on the Internet are favorites to the youngsters. Take blog for example, according to the latest CNNIC statistics, by August 2006, the number of mainland blog writers had hit 17.5 million with over 33.7 million blog spaces, and over 75 million blog readers. (Note 1) Using such net communication to give vent to personal sentiments and make ideological comments can achieve a freedom far greater than the traditional media and is conducive to the speedy formation and expansion of ideological media impact. Among them, sending a note and following up with a note are the most common act in Internet community, forum and blog ways to articulate their ideological viewpoints for political participation.
According to the investigations and study of the subject group members, there is a much greater following than the ones who send notes in terms of proportions. For example, by April 7, 2007, the number of notes sent from the Kaidi net known as the Interactive media among the Chinese celebrity world had topped 15.64 million, and that of notes following up was multiplied by 14.16 times. Some of the notes sent had a following up of over 10000 in reactions; hence the immense media impact by the Internet and the animated picture of interactive participation. Again, for example, in 2003, which the media referred to as the year of network opinion, it was all due to the outburst of Internet explosive scenes that first called social concerns to almost all the major domestic and international events that took place in that year, such as the outbreak of SARS, Japanese caught visiting whores in Zhuhai , anti-Japanese incident waged by Northwest China University students , the cases of Sun Zhigang , Liu Yong , the case of Huang Jing’s death naked , and the BM jeep incident. Take the BM jeep incident for example, there were as many as 230000 comments from the netizens on sina.net, 200000 on sohu, 180000 on Yida net, and hit the total of millions if plus the messages and notes on people’s net forum for making the country strong, xinhua net, China blog net.
The media elite, especially the young and middle-aged ones among them, placed great importance on the use of network communication. For example, Jiao Guoji, a liberalist opinion leader and an ex-associate professor with the Journalism School of Peking University, said that he was highly optimistic of the network effects. On November 5, 2004, he declared at the seminar on clan relationships in the information era, sponsored by Hartford Trinity Institute in Connecticut, USA, “The present mainland network control is very powerful for quite a proportion of people. They have screened out many websites and great quantities of information messages. Say for instance, some foreign or domestic websites were closed down and failed to screen through and certain sensitive terms were screened out. Nevertheless, they went through unimpeded as far as another section of people were concerned, especially the young students. They managed to tackle the problem with software and technical means.” “Facts showed that the public supervision over major events in recent two years, or the exposure of certain social evils were all first initiated or pushed by the media,” he concluded, adding, “the mainstream mainland media are now seeking inspiration from the nets. The contents of BBS information messages on the net for example, are very meaningful to the expansion of the line of thinking in the mainstream media. They have become an important trove of ideological and viewpoint resources for them. In other words, network opinion is, in turn, impacting the mainstream media in China today.”
Wang Yi, another young or middle-aged liberalist contributor, council member of Independent Chinese Pen Pals Society, and defender of Jurisprudence at Chengdu University of Sichuan Province, is also a typical example skilled in using network communication. In an interview with him, China Youth Daily’s Icy Point Weekly said, “Wang has become obsessed with the net since 2000. Four years later, he was referred by to his net friends as ‘net opinion leader.’” (Note 1) In the first four years, he hosted the Guantian teahouse of Tianya net community, and wrote unsigned editorials for 21st century economic reports and created the Constitutional Government for Balancing Power, Liberal Comments, Ideological Comments, Public law Comments and other websites together with Fan Yafeng, Cheng Yongmiao and Qiu Feng. In the recent two or three years, he edited an electronic magazine Vanguard Weekly in Bailing net community and set up his personal blog main pages in many websites, clamoring for his political positions such as abolition of the four cardinal principles and enforcement of liberal and democratic constitutional government, etc. and Wang’s active network communication effort won him appreciation from certain Western political forces. His blog net page, “Wang Yi’s microphone” was granted the “Best Blog” and “Borderless Reporter Special Prize” at the blog competition run by the Voice of Germany in October 2005. In May 2006, Bush junior granted him, together with Yu Jie and Li Baiguang, an audience as a sign of encouragement
C. Impacting mass psychology via mobile phone messages and other communication modes
Media elite application of new media modes also include such offhand communication tools as mobile phone messages, QQ, MSN massager to carry on point to point and group to group interpersonal communication, sending and spreading vicious, demagogic and harmful information. Such a mode of communication is private to some extent. Although it doesn’t create a great sensation, it exerts a sustained and imperceptible influence on public mentality, public opinion and social style.
For example, so reads a mobile message sarcastic of social phenomenon: Professors increasingly resemble businessmen as they yell about their goods for money; and vice versa as the latter appear on the platform making speeches and writing books for theoretical exposition. Doctors increasingly resemble killers as they just watch patients die without lending a helping hand and treat hum life as if it were not worth a straw and vice versa, as the latter are skilled in killing without leaving any hidden clues. Stars increasingly resemble the prostitutes as they are ready to flirt whenever they are offered money, and vice versa, as the latter look pretty and sweet. The police increasingly resemble the local despots as they ride roughshod over others, bullying the weak and fearing those who show strength and vice versa, as the latter dominate their own enclaves and dare to act and take up responsibilities. Hearsays increasingly resemble news reports as they are well grounded and are basically true, and vice versa as the latter are deliberately exaggerated and even invented out of empty air. Officials increasingly resemble hooligans as they feel no shame in grafting with the males perpetrating robbery and females prostitution, and vice versa as the latter appear as if they were people of high morals, assuming an air of virtue despite their evil doings. The government increasingly resembles the local bandits as they make extortions under all pretexts and are impervious to reason and vice versa as the latter are well organized and have clear-cut division of work.
Folk rhyme s, messages and blog dairies can be widely communicated through mobile phones and emails. They are difficult to be brought under technical and legal control. How to cope with the exaggeration of the negative aspects of society by such mode of information communication in dissolving the mainstream ideology and values and undermining the social harmony and stability is a new challenge for the ruling party and government.
D. Pressurizing on the ruling party and government via Internet open letters and protests
While the net media booms and gains popularity speedily in China, the Chinese government obviously lags behind in Internet control. This is due to the failure to timely introduce relevant controls from abroad while importing the BBS and other Internet media on the one hand, and to the failure to timely formulate legal controls that meet the information communication requirements in China on the other. This led to a vacuum in the control of network media, with Internet turning out into the freest media in China. It has broken through the original control system of the state in information communication so that all information detriment to social stability including demagogic ideas and speeches to overthrow the fundamental state political system and abrogate the Constitution can find channels and possibilities to get published.
In recent years there have been Internet open letters, protests and rights appeals addressed under personal or group names to related departments of the state or to the highest Party and state leaders. This has become the principal means for the liberalized media elite to achieve sensational effects and impact home and abroad and bring pressure to bear upon the Chinese ruling party and government. It is noteworthy that such information published by Internet websites home and abroad includes mainly the following contents:
(a) Openly challenging the leadership of the Party and state over the press and publications media and relevant principles and policies. Typical examples included the March 2004 Jiao Guoji Condemnation of the Publicity Department of the Party Central Committee, and the Open Letter published in July of the same year to Zhao Yong, Permanent Secretary of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China, the February 2006 Li Datong and Lu Yaogang’s Joint Statement on the Stoppage of Icy Point, the Joint Statement of Thirteen Elders on the Icy Point Incident by Jiang Ping and others, the Open Letter by Fu Guoyong, He Weifang and Zhang Yihe and others in the name of some writers of the Icy Point Weekly to the Standing Committee members of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee, and the January 2007 Zhang Yihe’s My Statement and Attititude, which all belonged to this category.
(b) Openly clamoring for the abolition of the four cardinal principles and pushing for China’s political restructuring after the model of the Western political system. For example, soon after the closing ceremony of the 17th CCP congress, Wang Zhaojun, standing committee member of Anhui provincial PPCC committee and private entrepreneur, published a lengthy Open Letter to Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, appealing for the appearance of a “Chinese Gorbechev and Yeltsen,” demanding the “lifting of the ban on freedom of speech,” “on party choice,” “rehabilitation of the June 4 Tiananmen Incident,” “stoppage of Falungong persecution,” “welcoming the civil movement personages back home,” “taking Taiwan as the “model of political restructuring in the mainland,” “enforcing democratic constitutional government in China.”, and etc. And openly instigating a “blue movement” and practicing a “color revolution.” Another Anhui entrepreneur Zheng Cunzhu and an associate professor with Nanjing Normal University and China Democratic League member Guo Quan also followed suit in sending an open letter to the central leaders. Huang Jie, associate professor with Shanghai East China Institute of Mass Media issued an open letter to all those who aspired for democracy in support of Guo Quan’s proposition to “set up a democratic China of multi-party elections” in his open letter to two state leaders Hu Jintao and Wu Bangguo while on the other hand the civil movement and Falungong elements abroad raised an uproar and clamored about “China’s ushering in an ‘era of open letter’ challenges.”
But these propositions aimed at subverting the CCP-led socialist political system do not obtain the approval and response from the majority of the people, including those of the intellectuals because they are obviously detrimental the preservation of social solidarity and stability and speedy economic development in China, and run counter to the mainstream ideology and the interests of the great majority of people, the objective of socialist modernization drive and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
C. Ideological hotspots in China today
The Chinese Party and government attach great importance to developing and managing network culture. For example, on January 23, 2007, the CCP Central Committee held a collective study meeting on World Net Technical Development and China’s Net Culture Development and Management, and Hu Jintao made an important speech as he chaired the meeting. In early June, 2007, the general offices of the CCP Central Committee and State Council issued an Opinion on Further Developing and Better Managing Net Culture. This was another important document issued by the general offices after the Opinion on Further Strengthening the Management of Internet in November 2004. The general guideline of Hu Jintao’s speech and the central authorities was that a healthy net culture was an important component of Chinese socialist culture. We must fully tap the important role of all information nets including Internet in China’s socialist cultural development so as to provide the people more and better net culture products and services while strengthening net culture development and management at the same time. We must exercise management legally, scientifically and effectively and accelerate the formation of legal supervision, industry self-discipline, social supervision, regular and orderly Internet information communication, step up efforts to better develop the ideological positions, grasp the initiative in directing the net opinion, enhance the net steering levels and form positive and forward-looking mainstream opinion to practically defend state culture information security.
It is necessary to point out that although most of the Chinese do not support the handful of media elite in their word and propositions negating and subverting China’s fundamentals, i.e., the four cardinal principles, this does not mean the ideological discourses they engineered and communicated had no effect at all, nor does it mean that they would stop engineering and spreading their subversive ideas and words and political propositions.
The current ideological pattern in China can be roughly divided into Marxist- non-Marxist and anti-Marxist ideologies. Among them Marxism is the predominant mainstream ideology, i.e., the voice upholding and defending the socialist road in China, although there are also some different opinions in the mainstream, given uniformity on basic political standpoint. There are quite a number of people under the sway of non-Marxism, but they are often confused and ambiguous politically and ideologically; hence, they are not very influential. On the other hand, despite the few people in the anti-Marxist camp, they are of no small energy and impact because the ideas they engineered and spread against a background of the macro international climate and micro domestic climate, invariably with the collusion of certain political forces and media abroad or overseas. Most of the polemics on the following hotspots were provoked under the consistent and repeated instigations of the opinion elite in that camp.
A. Economic field
——Concerning public ownership as the main body. Whether China should uphold public ownership as the main body has been one of the hotspots manipulated by the “media elite” in the economic field in recent years. On this topic, the so-called “mainstream economists” inside and outside the institutional structure are controlling the discourse orientation in information media via swaying many economics newspapers and magazines, running many economics, ideological and academic websites as well as their social reputation and professional authoritarian status as a result of media acclaim. The basic viewpoints and propositions they propagate boil down to the following: “ It is the theoretical source of confusion on the question of ownerships to say that ownership of the means of production determines the nature of the system of the ownership.” “ Public ownership, state ownership, ownership by the whole people, or collective ownership is all practically ownership by the ‘bureaucrats.” “The fundamental reason for the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries in East Europe is that they have not reestablished personal ownerships.” “ In China, a direct private ownership will inevitably substitute the direct public ownership as the main system. It is not necessary to deliberately uphold the direct public ownership as the main body.” “ Public ownership as the main body is no longer of any practical significance.” “This was a transitional formulation.” “We would recommend its revision into ‘public ownership as the leading factor.’” Such viewpoints of the “mainstream economists” run diametrically counter to the stipulations of Article 6 of the current Chinese Constitution and the related contents of all previous CCP congress reports since the onset of reform and opening up. They have met resolute opposition of the numerous intellectuals, ordinary people ad cadres. It stands to reason that the 17th CCP congress rejected their propositions.
——Concerning state-owned enterprise reforms. In the process of reforming and restructuring state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in China there cropped up the issue of mass drain of state assets and a large number of SOE workers being laid off. The emergence of such problems was closed related to the theories of “first marrying off the pretty daughters,” “of ice suckers,” “of rotten apples,” “of spitting,” “of rational inclination of social wealth to the elite,” all engineered by the so-called “mainstream economists” to push forward the SOE privatization. For example, Zhang Weiying contended, “ State assets are like ice suckers. They would disappear even if you don’t use them. They will not yield benefits unless they are operated upon. The purchase of SOEs by the management achieved the effects of integrating property rights with management rights. The state would not necessarily lose money even if they were transferred at zero or negative price.” Fan Gang said, “SOEs were to be sold sooner or later. Such being the case, we should first sell the effective ones; otherwise nobody will take up the ineffective ones. " These theories boiled down to one point, i.e., it was absolutely impossible to run well the SOEs under market economy conditions. They had become the “burdens” of the government and should be sold off earlier, quicker, and cheaper, or even presented as gifts to the Chinese and foreign private capital at any cost, until they were completely sold out or totally got rid of. Unfortunately such theories were readily accepted and put into practice by leaders of some localities and departments. In that process, serious corruption characterized by deal between power and money cropped up, triggering many social contradictions and protests by the workers.
In August 2004, based on the financial data analysis by such enterprises as Green Cool , TCL and Haier, Lang Xianping, Hong Kong economist serving as a lecture professor in Financial Department of Hong Kong Chinese University and chief professor of Yangtze River Business College, published articles like “Green Cool Wild with Joy at the Feast of ‘State Retreat and Private Advance,’” “Alert The Legal Annexation of State Assets by Private Enterprises in Collaboration with SOEs,” raising sharp interrogations about “state retreat and private advance,” whipping up a Lang’s whirlwind and triggering a heated debate between Lang and Gu in the media. A large number of “mainstream economists” including Wu Jinglian and Zhang Weiying held a meeting with some jurists and published articles and speeches in support of Gu while launching attacks on Lang from all sides. Wu Jinglian for example, accused Lang of “using slanderous and demagogic methods” to “oppose reform,” and “make everything mess.” “What was unprecedented was that the Enterprise Institute of the Development Research Center under the State Council issued a report to Kolon confirming its reform experience entitled “Kolon’s Two Decades of Development Experience and China’s Route of Enterprise Reform.”
On the other hand, ten “non-mainstream economists including Cheng Enfu, Ding Bing and Zuo Dapei issued an academic statement in which they pointed out, “It is timely and correct for Professor Lang Xianping coming out of capitalist society to attack the errors of Western property rights theory and reform and oppose attributing all problems in enterprises, finances and industries to public property rights, thinking that transfer to private property rights would facilitate high efficiency.” “We cannot encourage to push a more unfair privatization than in Russia mainly through the MBO inside the SOEs.” “State economy represents an economy where the working class works in the dual capacity of owners and laborers, directly involving their employment, welfare and living quality. ‘The interests of the masses are no trifles.’ As a local government and competent authorities that advocate the founding of the Party to serve the people and govern the localities in the interests of the people, they cannot but give first consideration to the interests of the working class which is the master of the country, still less to say that we must rely on the working class to promote reform and opening up and carry on them at the sacrifice of its interests.”
Besides, any websites at the time reported the seminar held by 42 Shanghai faction scholars in the Nanjing region in collective solidarity with Lang Xianping and the open letter of 3000 workers in Chongqing Plant 3403 in support of Lang. Their viewpoints were dismissed by the “mainstream economists” as “Ultra-Left,” “conservative,” and “ossified.” Liu Ji even published an article rejecting the support for objections to swallowing up state assets as “negation” of the reform effort. But on the other hand, the websites overwhelmingly sided with Lang. According to sina.net finance and economic channel survey, nearly 90% of the netizens considered Lang’s viewpoint as “hitting the nail on the head” and “featuring penetrating analysis.”
The website polemic ended with the three detention of Gu Chujun and two other celebrated CEOs and the once “collective speechlessness” of the “mainstream economists.”
——Concerning the guiding theories of economics. Over the past decade and more, certain “mainstream economists” have been trying hard to mislead the Chinese reform with new liberalist viewpoints. Take the property rights theory in economics for example. They were raising an outcry about the property rights theory of new liberalist and new system economist Ronald H. Kose (X). According to a search, there were 15756 articles with the key term “property rights” published in Chinese journals in the decade and more from January 1 1994 and August 23, 2004, of which only 74 were articles containing the key term “Marxist property rights,” accounting for merely 4.4 /1000. Among the articles introducing and propagating Western property rights theories, those introducing and propagating the new system economics property rights theory represented by Kose made up an absolute majority so that there appeared an abnormal phenomenon in China where no studies on property rights went without mentioning the Kose theory. Many scholars contended if we lost vigilance and allow new liberalism to rage unchecked, public ownership would lose its position as the main body in the national economy and the socialist market economy would be completely assimilated with the capitalist market economy.
Countering such a phenomenon, Liu Guoguang, Wu Yifeng and other Marxist economists kept publishing articles to expose the true features. In his Internet article published on July 15, 2005 Chinese famous economist Liu Guoguang pointed out, “In the present teaching and researches on economics, the impact of Western economics is on the rise while the guiding position of Marxist economics is being weakened and marginalized.” The article unveiled the prelude to a polemic on how to correctly treat the relations between Marxist and Western economics. Liu obtained the response from many Marxist scholars and the netizens, there being hundreds of related comments and articles communicated on the Internet. But Liu’s viewpoint was subjected to counter-criticism by Gao Shangquan, Liu Ji, Zhou Ruijin and others, who objected that there was no impact of new impact of new liberalism in China at all. The polemic is going on till now.
B. The Legal field
——Concerning non-government revision of the Constitution. The liberalist forces home and overseas have whipped up a tidal wave of radically revising the PRC Constitution in public opinion since the late 1990s. In 2003 this tidal wave climaxed. A number of famous scholars, jurists and even some government officials held seminars on non-government revision of the Constitution in quick succession, and flooded the media with articles on the issue. They wanted to delete the Introduction to the Constitution and write into the Constitution such contents as the sacred and inviolable nature of private property, substitution of the people’s democratic dictatorship with so-called “people’s democratic constitutional government,” “setting up a constitutional court,” and enforcement of the “presidential system,” “the people’s congress and PPCC bicameral system,” “the nationalization of the army,” “recognition of civil rights over everything else,” and “guarantee for human rights in line with international practice” etc.
There were mainly two approaches to these viewpoints in the media. On the one hand, quite a number of elite elements home and overseas within and outside the institutional system made use of all media to launch a great fanfare about them so as to pressurize on the Party and government. On the other hand, quite a number of experts and scholars as well as netizens resolutely opposed their attempt at constitutional revision, maintaining that by proposing constitutional revisions, Cao Siyuan and others were aiming to radically change the socialist nature of China’s Constitution and its socialist system.
——Concerning the draft Law on Real Rights. The polemic on the draft Law on Real Rights was another hotspot in the legal field in the media in recent years. On July 8, 2005, the General Office of the NPC Standing Committee issued a Notice to the effect that the meeting of chairman and vice chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee decided to release the draft on Real Rights for soliciting opinions for the whole society extensively. The Notice described the move as a major measure on the part of the NPC Standing Committee to persevere in the mass line, fully develop democracy and increase the transparency of legislation, and also a beneficial probe for promoting legislative efforts scientifically and democratically.” Thereupon, Professor Gong Xiantin with the Law School of Peking University published n open letter on the Internet in August 2005, regarding some clauses of the draft as seriously unconstitutional, expressing the hope and support the NPC in formulating a Law on Real Rights with Chinese characteristics and based on the socialist public ownership under the guidance of Marxist jurisprudence and with the concerted efforts of the people of the whole country including the legal workers and related law departments.
Media reactions were strong: Websites published hundreds of profound commentary articles and quite a number of netizens expressed support for Gong Xiantian. For example, a grassroots judge in a small county by the name of Xu Aimin said on the net, “Some people accused Gong of being a legal illiterate, a person condemned by history, a public foe of he people. I can by no means claim to be an expert on the Constitution and Law on Real Rights. I have just a smattering knowledge of law, but I would support Professor Gong Xiantian in standing forward to challenge the draft. Since you dish up the draft for soliciting opinions from all social circles, you should be open-minded enough as to accept detailed opinions and suggestions, but also modest enough to welcome the doubts expressed on its basic principles and legislative spirit. You must not profess love for something which you do not really understand and even fear, still less to regard your own draft as golden rule and precious precept, open only to laudation an not to criticism.” Quite a few experts and scholars, such as law Professors Liu Furui, Meng Qinguo, Yang Zihuan, Yang Xiaoqing and economics Professors Zuo Dapei and Yang Fan also published a series of critical articles on the net. Professor Liu, for example, published an article entitled “My Remarks on the Current Discussions on the Draft Law on Real Rights” on March 5, 2006. From February 28 – June 12, 2006, nine articles were published in serials under the pen name of Shi Qianjin entitled “Comment on the Apology for the Draft Law on Real Rights.” They were compiled later into a book entitled “Nine Comments on the Apology for the Draft Law on Real Rights” published in October 2006 by the Global Publishing Co LTD HK.
But there were also jurists, legal workers and economists who participated in the drafting of the law kept denouncing Gong and his viewpoints at seminars and in all media and verified the draft as constitutional in the capacity of authorities and demanded the speedy adoption of the Law on Real Rights at the NPC.
It took eight long years to draft and revise the Law on Real Rights. The first six deliberation sessions failed to adopt it. It was not until the seventh deliberations session held at the end of December 2006 that decided to submit it to the 5th session of the 10th NPC for examination that it was adopted at the NPC session on March 16th , 2007. It was only then that the polemic on the draft Law on Real Rights came to a pause.
Apart from the issues of non-government constitutional revision and draft Law on Real Rights, some specific judicial cases, such as the case of Liu Yong, the case of BM dashing against a pedestrian, the case of Zhou Zhengyi as well as the cases of high-ranking corrupted officials like Cheng Kejie, Cheng Weigao and hu Changqing, were also hot issues in the legal field. Besides, under the pretext of defending rights, some people were bent on creating and spreading information on the media negating China’s judicial system through speculating on certain specific cases and as well as incidents among those who sought for interviews with the higher authorities for intervention.
C. Cultural field
Topics in the cultural field are more closely related to people’s realistic lives. Two types and tendencies of hot issues in this regard deserve our attention:
——Low taste culture and wicked culture. In recent years in the course of China’s journalistic reform, metropolitan newspapers focusing on superstitious social news, philistine news and all sorts of advertisements have mushroomed like bamboo shoots after spring rain. Weekend supplements and metropolitan press are getting ever more explosive as they are more readable and inviting to the urban residents. To increase “readability” and their attractiveness, some newspapers and periodicals stopped at nothing to grab economic returns. They played up sex scandals and dug into them and fabricated false news to make evil impact. It was striking that so many media should have been involved and for so long a period in speculating on the “scandal of Zhang Tiesheng’s sexual deal,” and “the taped scandal of Huang Jianzhong.” With commercial culture greatly weakening the moral and doctrinal functions of literature and art while greatly intensifying its organic amusement functions, there emerged a pan-recreational tendency. For example, The Super Girl Contest and other pan-recreational TV programs are duplicated in mode with cultural taste declining. The literary and art arena is flooded with works “appealing to the sense organs” such as “Beijing Babes, “Guangdong Babes,” and “Shanghai Babes” that feature writing with the physical bodies.” The video works on lust, martial fighting and about the emperors, kings, generals and ministers raged unchecked, turning the vulgar culture into mainstream culture. . Many fir-minded scholars are critical of the specter of such wicked recreation, denouncing it for its stubborn presence on the screen and even tending to go from bad to worse, and leading us into the perilous impasse of ‘deaths in recreation.’”
——The wave of “scoffing” and “mischievous downplaying” of “red classical” works by recompiling and reediting them in all absurdities. The practice of recompiling and re-shooting red classic films has continued unabated in recent years. Red classical films and dramas like The Forest of Snow, The Red Detachment of Women, Dong Cunrui, little Soldier Zhang Ga, The Hen-feather Letter, The Red Lantern, Shajiabang, The Twinkling Red Star, were re-forged and again put into the market. Ito increase booking office income and audience rating, for the heroes and heroines in some recompiled or re-shot films and videos, recourse was taken mainly to add amorous scenes to spice up the show, with the result of recompiling them fabulously. The result was that in the so-called “humane,” “visualized, and “recreational” form, the era background of the original works was distorted intentionally or unintentionally, the lofty spirit of revolutionary predecessors was vilified, emotional quarrels were fabricated and abused, turning positive figures into multi-personality figures, making negative figures look ambiguous and better; thus damaging the ideological and artistic feature of the original works so that the classics changed the tune altogether, and lost the original lofty quality, arousing strong dissatisfaction among the fair-minded cultural workers and the broad masses of the people.
D. Social field
People’s livelihood has become a hotspot in recent years of special social concern in recent years. This is mainly due to the new social problems cropping up in the course of reform. Particularly the spread and scaling up of graft and corruption, the sustained widening gap between the rich and the poor and what the common people describe as the “three new big mountains” of not affording to buy an apartment, to see the doctor and to go to school.
A 2005 survey by Xiaokang (Better Off) magazine and sina.net found that the first ten questions that carried weight in the hearts of the netizens by order were medical system reform, environmental protection, social security, corruption, food safety, educational fees, social security, real estate prices, social ethics and unfair distribution. A 2006 questionnaire by Half-Monthly Talks periodical showed that the ten top hotspots for the common people were (a) widening income gap; (b) expensive medical, tuition and housing fees; (c) difficulties to find jobs and defend laborer rights; (d) lagging social security; (e) urgency for redoubled anti-graft efforts; (f) Moralities out of control; (g) Environmental pollution to be brought under effective control; (h) The channel of citizen interest appeal and opinion articulation to be smoothened; (i) Bad social order characterized by grave porn, gambling and narcotics situations ; (j) Difficulties to lodge law sues and to seek audience with the higher authorities for intervention. These social problems were also the frequent topics of discussions among media elite of diverse tendencies.
In this regard, two phenomena deserved attention; One was that certain famous scholars invariably “rationalized”what the masses were extensively dissatisfied with, refusing to recognize any problem or trying to play down the issue, in a bid to affect the Party and government decision-making with their viewpoints. For example, Zhang Shuguang said, “Reform must utilize corruption and bribery to reduce the barrier of power transfer and redistribution. Corruption and bribery became a plausible route and bridge for power and interest transfer and redistribution, and a lubricant for the smooth process of reform. What is spent for this is practically a ticket for access into the market economy, or the cost of reform.”Li Yining said, “Is the gap between the haves and have-nots in China big enough? No, it isn’t. We can’t achieve social progress unless we widen it. We can’t expect to achieve a harmonious society unless we widen it.” “If we are to achieve the goal of reform, we must sacrifice a generation of people, a generation of 30 million workers. The 800-plus million farmers and laid-off workers are a great asset for China. How can there be the fortune of a minority without their hard toil. Their survival and maintenance of the present state of affairs is highly necessary.” The other phenomenon was the “attribution of the wide gap first of all to the institutional system. It was firstly to the failure to adequately reform the outmoded institutional system characterized by public power in everything. Secondly, it was attributed to state monopoly and government control,” arguing that ‘the most important thing was to hold corruption in check and run the monopoly industries along market-oriented lines, if we were to bridge the gap,” etc. These two types of ideological media were extensively communicated on the Internet. There were identifications, but more were indignant protests and interrogations from the numerous netizens.
E. Historical field
Historical hot issues fell into three categories in the main:
——History of the CCP. With the mass publication of books and theses on Party history and the lift of ban on and the publishing of some internal data such as “Yan’an Diaries,” “Memoirs of Zhang Guotao,” etc, the history of the CCP became a hotspot of wide concern. For example, a report widely spread on the net on Certain Difficult Points and Hotspots in the Study of CCP History enumerated twenty of them in the current study of Party history. (Note 1) Many of them involved the so-called “reevaluation” of some of the Party’s major historical events and figures. In the capacity of so-called “insiders” and “witnesses” certain figures with special identification backgrounds people were producing so-called ‘authoritarian” data to unscrupulously spread distorted and fabricated historical details and published diametrically different and totally negative evaluation viewpoints from the official ones and from those of the people in their all-directional attacks.
A question calling for our great attention is the vilification of the CCP history as one of cruel inner Party struggle, as one of evil-doing, concentrating on vilifying Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai and other leaders of the Party and people, completely negating the whole history of the CCP since its founding, particularly since the founding of the People’s Republic. For example, Li Shenzhi openly said, “The nearly two-decade history of the People’s Republic until 1976 can be described as a sanguine history.” Li Rui, who advertised himself as Mao Zedong’s secretary, published works and articles abroad consistently, perniciously slandering Mao Zedong’s personality, exaggerating and playing up his mistakes. Their words were frequently transferred to the net forums sponsored or chaired by the liberalist intellectuals. These had some impact on a small number of young people who did not know the historical facts, or lacked the capacity to tell the true from the false. The broad masses of the people have never accepted or identified them.
——The main theme of Chinese history in the remote and immediate modernity. The “theory of farewell to revolution” was also a topic manipulated by some members of media elite in many previous years. Representative works included Liu Zaifu and Li Zehou’s Farewell to Revolution: In Retrospect of the 20th Century China, and Yuan Weishi’s Modernization and History Textbook. They propagated that “neither revolution nor reform was as good as amelioration, which was in turn was not as good as conservatism.” They stood for the substitution of the historical conception of modernization (“modernization” in their hearts being overall Westernization, or capitalization) for the historical conception of the revolutionary. They preached that the main line of modern Chinese history was not revolution, not anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle, but so-called “modernization.” They regarded that what the 20th century Chinese revolution brought to China was “disaster,” and declared that the economically and culturally backward China was not qualified at all to go in for socialism, slandering the type of socialism practiced after the birth of New China was none other than petty-bourgeois “Utopian socialism” and “feudal autocracy.” Such viewpoints in the media caused some confusion among certain sections of people, but were rebutted and repudiated by most historians as a matter of course.
——Certain important historical events and figures. The impact of the idealist and nihilist conception of history negating revolution engineered and spread by liberalist media elite found explicit expression in the literary creations and videos on historical subject matter. These historical literary and video works often gave re-portrayal to and made re-evaluation of some historical events and figures in the popular and mass art form, exerting imperceptible impact on the readers and audiences and playing a misleading role among them. The typical event was manifested concentratedly in the TV serial film Heading for the Republic which replaced the revolutionary model with the modernized one in historical and value outlook, openly reversing the verdict passed on Li Hongzhang Empress Dowager and other feudal rulers in the last years of the Qing Dynasty as well as their counter-revolutionary and capitulationist behavior of national betrayal. It stands to reason that the numerous patriotic scholars and historians of modernity, remote or immediate, are opposed to and criticize such fallacies.
Examples of reversing historical verdicts that became media hotspots also included the appearance of some literary works and history readings in the textbooks that negated national hero Yue Fei, Wen Tianxiang, sympathized with and glorified Chinese literary collaborators with foreign aggressors, sang praise of Chiang Kai Shek, tried to reverse the verdict on big landlord Liu Wencai, and also the deletion of the lesson “Five Heroes on Langya Mountain, etc. For example, the appearance of Yang Tianshi’s Sorrowful Comment on National Hero Chiang Kai Shek in Huanghuagang magazine Issue No, 5, 2003 in a bid to rehabilitate him, and the publication of Xiao Shu’s Liu Wencai in True Features by Shaanxi Normal University Press in November 1999, were both subjected to strong and sharp criticism from the netizens.
F. Political field
In the political field, China’s mainstream media are highly identical with the Party and government. This reflects the Chinese people’s confirmation and identification of the CCP concept of governing the country, China’s achievements in economic restructuring and the orientation and principles of and progress in its political restructuring and of socialist political democracy development since the introduction of reform and opening up. But the liberalist media elite turn a blind eye to all these. They are consistently raising an outcry and launching attacks on and negating China’s socialist political system and political restructuring.
——Building political democracy. In October 2005 the Chinese Government released a white book on China’s Efforts to Build Political Democracy, drawing wide-ranging concern and confirmation from home and abroad. But there also appeared some comments directed against the white book and attacking China’s socialist political system.
In his Brief Comment on China’s White Book on Democracy on a website overseas, Hu Ping argued that “democracy means alternation of political parties,” “it means open struggle for leadership.” The CCP “practically negates the universal application of democracy; hence, it negates democracy itself.” In an editorial, a local newspaper at home Southern China Metropolitan News also said, “Different national conditions are required to have identical democracy and also call for the same effort to build one. National condition feature road will eventually lead to the universality of democracy.” The Carter Foundation-funded China Elections Governance Net declared in an article, “Democracy is not categorized as Oriental and Western, but as real and false, more or less quantitatively and yes and no,” etc. From these we can see the stress on so-called “universal values” has become an ideological concept and discourse weapon commonly used by Westernized Chinese political proponents home and abroad. In recent years, the sound of “universal values” is lingering in the ear in the stress of democracy from inside and outside the Chinese institutional system, especially from the academic circles.
——Advocacy for fulfillment of “constitutional government” and “constitutional democracy.” In recent years, the dust and din of enforcing Western “separation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers,” “multi-party system,” “constitution government,” and constitutional democracy” has again filled the air in the ideological and political media. An increasing number of liberalist-inclined articles are appearing on the plane media and websites to preach about the mode of Western constitutional government. The “political dissidents” inside the Party like Li Rui, Xie Tao and Du Guang, and the so-called liberalist scholars, “non-government thinkers,” “constitutional government experts” like Chen Ziming, Liu Junning, Fan Yafeng, Zhang Boshu, Wang Yi, Chen Yongmiao and Zhang Zuhua have published a large number of articles and comments to verify the necessity of “constitutional reform” and press for its enforcement.
In an article published in Annals of Chinese Legendary Emperors Yan and Huang in 2004, Ren Zhongyi’s proposition for the enforcement of “separation of powers” in China by setting up a “special political region.” In March 2006, He Weifang said that China would inevitably follow the road of “multi-party system,” “army under the command of the state,” “freedom of the press’” and “real democracy,” as for example the present model of Taiwan,” as a participant at an internal seminar sponsored by China Economic Restructuring Society. They referred to Chinese socialism as “Chinese-style communist feudalism,” and regarded the Chinese economic reform as “market-oriented reform under unconstitutional order conditions,” and as “only a small part of transition to massive constitutional government.” The ideological trend of “democratic socialism” that came forth in a flood in 2006 advocated remolding the communist party into a socialist party and following the route of Western bourgeois reformism. From these we can see that in terms of the so-called modes of political restructuring and democratic development, the preaching of these ideological members of media elite about the US fundamental model” is intermingled with the discourse proposition of the “Taiwan model” and “democratic socialism.” These words and comments reflect the political stand of these members of media elite and the interest groups they represent. Their real intention in preaching about so-called democracy and constitutional government is to write off the leadership and ruling party status of the Communist Party, to radically change the state system, form of government, political party system and the form of state structure in China and to follow the model of Western capitalist political system in China.
——Concerning mainstream ideology. For years, the anti-communist and anti-China media overseas financed by US and other Western countries have valued subverting the Chinese mainstream ideology. Great Century and other reactionary websites dished up with Nine Comments on the CCP that spared no stone unturned at rumoring and slanderous attacks, and tried their utmost to trumpet the anti-Marxist, anti-socialist words and standpoint of Li Shenzhi, Li Rui, Wang Ruoshui and other “dissidents” inside the Party. Anti-communist scholars and movement for democracy elements overseas launched frenzied attacks against Marxism and socialism in their articles and comments. For example, Zhang Wuchang’s article entitled “Marx, the height of folly,” Zhou Duo’s slanderous attack on “Karl Marx per se, especially his followers as showing typical pseudo science features,” and Ren Bumei’s calumny of the important thoughts of Three Represents as a “Chinese fascist ideological trend,” , etc., all exerted some influence on a small section of people at home via the net and other media channels.
4. Trends of development for the media elite
Under he current social and historical conditions in China, the division of social interest groups and the survival status of ideological media elite are the basic factors for the developmental orientation affecting the media elite groups. Under the effects of these two major factors, it can be predicted that the media elite will survive and will get more and more divided, and the struggle between the Marxist, socialist and the anti-Marxist and anti-socialist trends of thought will persist.
A. The ideological media elite will continue to break up on the basis of current social ramifications
In the process of China’s transition from the planned economy to market economy, the Chinese pattern of social ramifications has taken shape and will persist in the context of foreign and private capital scaling up in their ratios to the national economy. Ideas are instructions on interests. The split up out of social interest ties will generate and develop a corresponding set of ideas and opinions reflecting the different interest groups and their appeals. Just as pointed out by some scholars, “In such a society, the articulation of various interest appeals will become a regular social phenomenon.”
In such a context, the media elite with liberalist conception will gain further media space to generate greater impact. This is connected with not only the great resources owned by the newly emerging advantaged group they reflect and represent, but also its ever growing political appeals. A phenomenon is getting ever more apparent in which some intellectuals and media elite elements ally with the new rich stratum and become self-conscious spokespersons of their ideological views. Zhang Xianliang gave a portrayal to such a phenomenon, saying: “The socialist market economy is summoning to its market those who are intelligent and capable, prudent and reliable, and well versed in business operation to become the ‘new lucky knights,’” while these “‘new lucky knights’ are consciously and unconsciously searching and summoning their ideological spokespersons.” Some of the intelligentsia and media elite belong to the ‘new rich’ themselves. They receive subject fees and consultation fees, etc., accept sponsorships from the wealthy stratum and even become part of it. An article disclosed the close ties of some “mainstream economists” with capital. They assume independent directors at famous enterprises or serve capital indirectly, and some of them have become suddenly rich because of their relatives or children running enterprises. These intellectuals and media elements have become liberalist propagandists with “their backsides dominating their brains.”
On the other hand, the ever more sharpening social contradictions and antagonisms triggered by the economic and social structural changes and interest ramifications have also aroused ever stronger class and stratum consciousness among the ordinary groups of the people, who also require articulators of their own interests and aspirations. Some intellectuals with socialist, populace and patriotic feelings consciously or unconsciously sympathize with the ordinary laborers and the disadvantaged and come forward to defend their interests. Their combination with ideological and social realities has led to the emergence of anti-liberalist and anti-Westernized social consciousness and ideological propositions. Since the 1990s, people have usually referred to the groups differing from the liberalist intellectuals as “New Leftists,” and “nationalists.” Besides, the voice of socialist traditional values especially Mao Zedong Thought is once again on the rise and getting louder and louder. This, to quite a degree, reflects the deep split up of he contemporary Chinese intellectuals and media elite. In the predictable future, such split up of the intelligentsia and media elite in the context of Chinese social ramifications will persist and develop.
B. Some of the media elite who can hardly make both ends meet will tend to be depressed and inactive
As a matter of fact only a small minority of the “media elite” are relatively wealthy while the intermediate and lower section especially the younger ones in the media group don’t live well, leading to their cynical mentality and negative and confused ideological and value orientation; hence they are described as the “depressed group.” As a free-lance contributor who lives off royalties puts it, “I write just for money.” Some free-lance contributors undersigned a net article that read, “Articles good or bad do not matter, what matters is the fame once they are published. Articles lengthy or not do not matter, but I feel Ok if they mean money.” “Write to make money.” “My hands tremble if I don’t write/ but the more I write, the more my hands tremble/ If you ask me why, royalties are hot potatoes.” Low incomes have turned magazines offering higher royalties and overseas journals into hotbeds for many of the free-lance contributors’ cutthroat competition.
To fulfill their tasks and attract more readers, some pressurized young editors and reporters who earn small incomes and lack labor security often resort to demagogic, one-sided and exaggerated publicity in news coverage. Poor subsistence is also one of the important reasons for some media insiders manipulating negative news coverage. They divulge their own frustrations frequently via playing up lust and violence for lucrative purposes.
As a result of enormous competition pressures on the media industry, media insiders are made younger, with subsequent lower quality of news coverage. As young editors and reporters are given lower pay and inferior welfare treatment; so many economizing media tend to employ the younger ones and internees. For example, New Beijing News did not recruit any beyond 25 as a matter of principle, and Legal Evening restricted the age limit to 30. This is one of the important reasons for the low quality of press and information communication personnel and lower effects of their work.
C. The ruling party and government will continue their efforts to guide the social ideological media
The ruling party and government are increasingly aware of the great impact and importance of ideological media on modern society, and are attaching ever- reater importance to their leadership over ideological publicity and cultural work. Not long ago, at the national publicity and ideological work conference, Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CCP Central Committee, stressed, “WE must firmly grasp the leadership and initiative of publicity and ideological work, hold aloft the great banner, sing the triumphant song of progress aloud, boost the national spirit, and concentrate on building the socialist system of core values, consolidating and expanding mainstream ideological media, pushing reform and innovation with deeper understanding, broader lines of thinking, more effective policy and more efficient measures, in a bid to boost the great development and prosperity of socialist culture, upgrade the soft strengths of the state in culture, and continue to build a good atmosphere for further ideological emancipation, upholding reform and opening up, pushing scientific development and promoting social harmony, and provide powerful ideological and cultural guarantee for winning new victory in building an overall prosperous society and creating a new situation of Chinese characteristics socialism.” In recent years, the CCP and the Chinese government have adopted a series of policy measures to strengthen guidance to social ideological culture and media to impact the media elite. They have, for example, implemented the “Marxist theoretical research and development program” since 2004, organized researches on major social theoretical problems in the national educational circles, and compiled serial college and university theoretical basics and key curricula teaching materials, in a bid to foster a Marxist theoretical contingent. To meet the development of cultural industry and undertaking under socialist market economy conditions, they have implemented cultural restructuring and worked hard to forge and develop a new-type cultural industry and undertaking, implemented the four personnel-training projects in the national cultural sector, and train young and middle-aged theoretical, press, culture and art and publications personnel that are of the same mind with the Party and government.
D. The ideological struggle will persist and develop
Given the realistic international environment, as well as the economic and social ramifications in China resulting from the deepening reform and opening up, the pluralized and diversified tendency of ideological culture and values will apparently continue to develop in the predictable future. On the one hand, the “liberalist intellectuals” shored up in the international context will continue to cling on and propagate their constant propositions. On the other hand, the social resentment will further grow as China enters a “period of conspicuous social contradictions” resulting from market economy development conditions. Negation” of or opposition to and challenging against the established institutional system are the basic features of the ideological discourse of the “liberalist intellectuals,” and negative discourse can invariably be communicated via social frustrations. The non-government ideological forces that stand opposite to the “liberalist intellectuals” --- “New Leftists,” and “nationalists” as well as the ideological group upholding the traditional socialist values, will inevitably stand opposite to the discourse in Western ideologies and values and engage in sharp polemics with the “liberalist intellectuals” as they criticize the “market-oriented reform” for its harm to the interests of the common people and the negative effects of globalization on the interests of the state and nation while the “mainstream ideology led by the ruling party and government will consistently push ahead the innovative development of Chinese Marxism and uphold the core value system of socialism with Chinese characteristics that stand opposite to “Westernization” and “liberalization.” To defend the established institutions and present regime, the “mainstream ideology” will always criticize and boycott overall “Westernization” and “liberalization” while advocating assimilating the fruits of human civilization.
In short, judging from the angle of the social structure as it is today and of mass ideology as formed, people’s ideology and social ideological media will become ever more pluralized and diversified. People will inevitably form different perceptions and impressions out of the complicated social ideological media according to their own experience and eventually according to their own class and stratum or those they are subservient to, get akin to the ideological media that reflect their personal emotions, ideologies and interest appeals, and resent, estrange and reject what is opposite or antagonistic to them. Thus, the Chinese social ideological media will see a fluctuating diversity of hues and tinges, with all sorts of viewpoints clashing and confronting each other over a long period of time to come.
Members and co-authors of the subject group
Wang Yicheng, director of and research fellow with the Institute of Political Science/CASS
Fang Ning, deputy-director of and research fellow with IPS/CASS
Wang Bingquan, associate research fellow with the College and University Social Sciences Development Research Center under the Chinese Ministry of Education
Liu Ruisheng, assistant research fellow with the Press and Communication Institute/ CASS
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Ditto; p. 641,
Ditto V3: p. 815
Ditto V4. p. 1287
Selected Works of Mao Zedong V. 2 pp. 674-675,
Ditto, p. 751
Ditto, pp. 618 - 620
Ditto, p. 768
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Selected Works of Mao Zedong V. 3, p. 815, 1991 edition, People’s Publishing House
Ditto: p. 559
i.e., “gradual realization of the country’s socialist industrialization, and the socialist transformation of its agriculture, handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce
Selected Works of Mao Zedong, V. 5, p. 384, 1977 edition, People’s Publishing House
Ditto: pp. 384-385
Ditto: p. 385
Selected Works of Zhou Enlai, V.2, p.162, 1984 edition, People’s Publishing House
Ditto, pp 162 - 163
Ditto, p. 167
Selected Important Documents since the Founding of the People’s Republic, V. 8, pp. 133 - 134
Selected Works of Mao Zedong, V. 5, p. 388, People’s Publishing House
“Red” means persisting in the correct political orientation and “expert” means grasping professional knowledge and skills.
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Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping, V. 2, p. 89
Ditto, page 40
Selected Compilation of Important Documents since the 14th Party Congress, V 1. p. 26
Ditto, p. 82
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Ditto, Issue No. 23, 2000
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People’s Daily, Oct. 5, 1984
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See xinhuanet Jan.4, 2007: China has nearly 3 million net editors, far more than the traditional media insiders
Wu Haihong and Li Li: “Income Gap in the eyes of Reporters” China youth Daily July 5, 2006
Survey on the Living Conditions of media Insiders, Set. 2003 http://www.sina.com.cn
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Xu Youyu: “Brief Comment on the Formation of Li Shenzhi’s Liberalist Thoughts
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Refer to Zhang Haipeng’s “Anti-imperialism and Anti-feudalism is the Main Theme of Modern Chinese History, China Youth Daily Icy Point Weekly March 1, 2006
Xian Yan: “Undemocratic ‘Democrats’ and Non-liberal ‘Liberalists’” global vision net
See Southern China Weekly, Feb. 27, 2003, by Yang Ruichun
See South Wind Window Reporter’s Article carried by news.tm.com Sept. 17, 2004
The four articles are: “Can a Letter Bar the Draft Law on Real Rights?” “Gong Xiantian: An Hero or a Criminal?” “Surgical Operation and the Formulation of China’s Code of Civil Laws,” and “ Dialogue with Huang Fuping: Before and After the Appearance of ‘Unshakable Reform’”
Gong Xiantian: “Whither the Professional Ethic of the Southern China Weekend Report?” people’snet forum on making the country strong
On September 18th , 2003, hundreds of Japanese went gangbang whoring at a five-star hotel in Zhuhai, and clamored they were there “to womanize Chinese girls!” Witnesses said there were nearly 500 maidens from the entertainment center that night. The tourist group came from all parts of Japan, all males, the oldest 37, and the youngest only 16. There were also students among them. The evil was heinous and most irritatingly provocative! On 17th, the Zhuhai intermediate people’s court held an open court to judge the September 16th case of organized prostitution. Ye Xiang and 13 other defendants were sentenced according to law. The China national center bureau of the International Criminal Police also issued a red warrant to arrest XXX and two other Japanese suspected of organized prostitution in the incident.
On the evening of October 29th, 2003, at the Welcome New Students Party of the Foreign Languages Department of Northwest China University, a Japanese male teacher led three Japanese students studying in China to wear a red bra in the chest when staging a performance and tied a paper cup upside down below the lower abdomen as the sexual organ, and threw paper festoons at the audience seats from within the bra and performed very nasty and disgusting dance moves. On their backs were white paper slips written with Japanese meaning: “They are Chinese,” and bearing a slogan, “Don’t forget national shame! Chinese are pigs,” etc. The incident triggered protests from students of the university as well as some others in other institutes of higher learning in Xi’an. The Japanese teacher was dismissed and the three Japanese students were expelled.
In March 2003, Sun Zhigang forgot to bring his identification card when he went outdoors for surfing on net on the evening of 17th. The result was that he was sent by the street police checking temporary residence certificates to the police station at the Huangcun Street at about 11 o’ clock that night. There he phone to a friend of his and asked him to send his identification card to the police station. But when he reached the station, he found Sun already transferred to a refugee house, and the refugee form absurdly described Sun as a jobless, homeless and unidentified fugitive in line with house requirements. But Sun actually had a residence, a legal job and a legal identity card, and did not meet the refugee requirements. On 20th Sun was found dead at a hospital that accepted refugees. At first officials insisted he died a normal death of illness, but after press investigations, he was beaten to death. Later the authorities had to make a new investigation. The finally result released was that Sun was beaten to death at the hospital by an attendant and ward-mates. The Guangzhou municipal later detained Qiao Yanqin and some dozen of others involved in the case, sentencing the chief criminal Qiao to death, the second criminal Li Haiying to death with a reprieve of two years, and the others to three years up to life imprisonment. Another six officials were accused of neglect of duty, and given one to three years imprisonment. Although officials declared the incident as an isolated case of refugee worker crime, it triggered a big discussion on China’s internal system of refugee acceptance and dispatch. Later the Chinese government promulgated a new regulation and annulled the system of refugee acceptance and dispatch extensively considered to have loopholes for evils and to be unconstitutional.
On April 17, 2002, Shenyang native Liu Yong and his inferiors Song Jianfei and others was sentenced to death in the first instance by Liaoning province’s Tieling municipal intermediate people’s court on charges of organizing and leading gangsters, intentional injuries, illegal business management, intentional destruction of property, bribery, obstructing public duty performance, and illegally possessing guns. On August 15, 2003, one year and four months, afterwards, the Liaoning provincial senior people’s court revised the sentence to death with a reprieve of two years on almost the same charges. The revision triggered a strong social repercussion. The written appraisal of Shenyang resident Liu Yong’s gangster-related case by a dozen of leading jurists including Peking University professor of law and criminologist Chen Xingliang was reportedly one of the important grounds for the revision. On the morning of April 22, 2003, the Supreme People’s Court decided to sentence Liu Yong to death after re-examination of the case by Jinzhou municipal intermediate people’s court of Liaoning Province. After the declaration of the sentence, the Tieling intermediate people’s court issued the order of execution. On the same day, Liu Yong was executed.
On the morning of Feb. 24, 2003, 21-year old female teacher of music Huang Jing of Hunan province’s Xiangtan municipal Linfeng Primary School, was found dead stark naked on her dormitory room bed. On June 2, 2003, Jiang Junwu, her boyfriend when she was alive, was detained on criminal charges. On Dec. 22, 2003, the Yuhu district procuratoriate of Xiangtan city brought a public charge against Jiang Junwu on charge of suspended rape according to the identification of Hunan provincial public security bureau. Meanwhile, the court rebutted the other appeals of the plaintiff. The case of a female teacher death naked became a hot topic that lasted for three years and more as a result of media exposure, track-down reports, plus network relay and hot posting and hot comments.
At about 10:20 a.m., Oct. 16, 2003, Dai Yiquan drove a four-wheeler for agricultural use loaded with garlic and reached the front of Harbin Personnel Development and Exchange Center, where he cut the left-side back-looking mirror of defendant Su Xiuwen’s BMW jeep licensed Heilongjiang AL6666 parking on the southern side of the street. In the aftermath, the defendant got off his car to abuse and beat up Dai Yiquan. The crowd persuaded Su to back his BMW jeep and see to what extent the mirror was damaged. Thereupon, Su got on the jeep and operated on it, but due to disoperation, the jeep dashed forward and killed Liu Zhongxia who stood in front of the jeep, causing slight injuries to Zhang Yan and six others, and with negligible injuries to Cui Zhijun and four others. The public security organ detained Su on the scene of the accident. On Dec. 20th , 2003, the Daoli district court openly handled the case, sentencing Su the driver to two years imprisonment with a reprieve of three years. The case triggered a hot discussion on the Internet. Allegations ran rampant about “Su being relative of a certain official” and the “BMW jeep being owned by a bigwig.”
“Opening Up” Monthly, Dec. 2004: “Jiao Guoji: The Ins and Outs of Condemning the Publicity Department of Party Central Committee”
See Chianewsnet: Jan. 24, 2007
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The relevant contents of the political report to the 17th CCP congress are: “persevere in and improve the basic economic system of common development of multiple ownerships with public ownership s the main,: See Compilation of 17th CCP Congress Documents, p. 25, People’s Publishing House, Oct. 2007.
See Encyclopedia of The Most Striking Quotations from Chinese Economists,” Xisi Hutong net Dec. 4, 2005
See Ditto, people’snet forum on making the country strong, Dec. 2, 2005
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Gu: Gu Chujun, board chairman and president of Green Cool S&T Co LTD and board chairman of Kolon Electric Appliances
Wu Jinglian Condemning Lang Xianping1”March 9, 2006 China economic net post from China Industrial and Commercial Times
News replay: See what Experts and Scholars Gu Chujun Asked to Wage Bitter Counterattacks on Lang Xianping?”
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There were more than 40 scholars, jurists and government officials who participated in the Seminar organized by Cao Siyuan “China Constitutional Government Forum: Protect Private Property and Revising the Constitution” in Qindao on June 18, 2003 including Eritus Professor Jiang Ping with China University of Political Science and Law, Zhu Houze, former director of Publicity Department of CCP Central Committee, Zhu Shaoping, director of NPC Financial and Economic Committee, and Shi Xiaomin, vice chairman of China Economic Restructuring Research Society. The forum triggered repercussions from home and abroad.
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Readers, Issue 4, 2006
Seeking Interpretations to Ten Top Harmonious Society Concerns to he Common People in Eight Provinces and Municipalities,” Internal Half-Monthly Talks, Issue No. 8, 2006
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“Wu Jinglian Attributes Widening Gap between Rich and Poor to Corruption and Monopoly,” china news net June 26th , 2006
Li Shenzhi: “The Tempest of Fifty Years” extensively relayed on Internet
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