On the eve of the 20th CCP Congress, Fu Hua, the head of the Chinese media, said that “the main political task” is to promote Xi Jinping’s political thoughts and party control over the Internet. The news agency focused on manipulating domestic public opinion by waging a narrative war on the West.
Xinhua Editor-in-Chief Fu Hua vowed not to deviate from President Xi Jinping’s instructions “not for one minute”, saying the state news agency will create a “favorable media environment” ahead of the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party on October 16. The party mouthpiece will highlight Xi’s progress in running the country and tell the story of China, socialism with Chinese characteristics and the party to create a stable and healthy economic environment.
“[Xinhua will] never stand outside the party line for one minute, never deviate from the direction pointed by General Secretary Xi Jinping for one minute, and never disappear from the sight of General Secretary Xi Jinping and the central party committee for one minute,” he wrote in an article published in China Cyberspace, the flagship publication of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).
The CAC launch a three-month “clear-up” campaign to quickly crack down on rumours and misinformation related to key political events and important policy announcements. The cyberspace watchdog said it would improve communications and speed up official responses regarding the pandemic, the economy, public security and emergencies.
Under Xi, the party has further tightened its control of Chinese media, the internet and ideology through a wide range of measures that have included intensifying and extending censorship.
As the flag-bearer of the party’s ideological work, Xinhua must stick to the principle of “the party governing the internet” and build itself into a world-class, all-media organisation, Fu said.
Fu also emphasised Xinhua’s ability to guide domestic public opinion while battling a narrative war with the West. He highlighted putting a positive spin on China’s economic coverage “amid downward pressures” and the worsening pandemic situation this year as examples of the news agency’s accomplishments.
Through the “Great Firewall” that blocks non-sanctioned online information from overseas, a vast army of online police that censors domestic internet content, and a raft of hefty fines than punish businesses and individuals for violations of content rules, the Chinese authorities have built a powerful information control system that protects the primacy of Beijing’s messages.
Huang Kunming, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s propaganda chief, said in a message to the conference that China’s cyberspace civilisation “has achieved noticeable results” in the past decade. China will “promote the integration of comprehensive cyber governance with internet civilisation” as a way to let cyberspace “be filled with advanced culture and time spirits.
One mission of China’s internet regulators is to guide netizens to deeply feel the great power of Xi Jinping Thought as the truth and the guidance of practice.