Fri, Aug 24, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Xi defends ideology work amid trade dispute criticism

Reuters, BEIJING

China’s propaganda work has been “absolutely correct” and those who work in the field should be trusted, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) told top officials amid domestic criticism that China has messed up its messaging over a trade dispute with the US.

The growing trade conflict is causing rifts within the Chinese Communist Party, with some critics saying that an overly nationalistic Chinese stance might have hardened the US’ position, sources close to the government have said.

However, speaking at a major meeting of senior propaganda officials, the first such gathering in five years, Xi said that since the previous party congress in 2012, propaganda efforts had been successful and made great strides.

“Superior traditional culture has been widely promoted, mainstream public opinion has been continuously consolidated and expanded, cultural self-confidence has been highlighted, national cultural soft power and Chinese cultural influence have been greatly enhanced,” state media cited Xi as saying in a report late on Wednesday.

“Practice has proved that policymaking of the party center on propaganda and ideological work is completely correct, and the broad masses of officials on the propaganda and ideological front are completely trustworthy,” he added, without making direct reference to any specific issue.

The comments come amid a broader clampdown targeting online content from livestreams and blogs to mobile gaming, as leaders look to tighten their grip over a huge and diverse cultural scene online popular with young people.

“Uphold a clean and righteous Internet space,” Xinhua news agency cited Xi as saying.

China last year shut as many as 128,000 Web sites that contained obscene and other “harmful” information, Xinhua reported in January, citing government data.

China’s media regulator has also been cracking down on video spoofs, as part of an intensified crackdown on any content deemed to be in violation of socialist core values under Xi.

Despite strict censorship, China has a fairly lively online community of bloggers who frequently respond to news with humorous — and sometimes risque — sketches and short videos, although they often see their posts being taken down.

Xi said that those who work in culture and the arts must express quality and responsibility, and respect the law, Xinhua said.

“Reject the vulgar, the base and the kitsch,” Xi added. “Put forward more healthy, high-quality Internet works of culture and art.”

The government says all nations regulate the Internet, and its rules are aimed at ensuring national security and social stability, and preventing the spread of pornography and violent content.

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