“We must reduce the power that supporters of Tibetan independence and Xinjiang’s separatist forces enjoy in the international public opinion,” an independent news agency has quoted top Chinese officials as saying in leaked classified documents.
Information, a Danish daily has published excerpts from what they call ‘highly classified Chinese government documents’.
Maintaining anonymity of the source, the daily says that they are in possession of 60 pages of leaked documents issued by the Central Committee – the highest authority within the Communist Party of China, the party’s powerful Central Propaganda Bureau, and the Beijing city party leadership.
The leaked documents dated between late January and mid-March exposes the regime’s attempts at upholding the stability of the party’s power base by implementing stricter censorship controls and influencing international opinions on China.
The documents clearly spell the party’s greatest fear in maintaining its monopoly on information and preventing people from getting in touch with ‘politically sensitive information’ by improving ‘monitoring methods’ and identifying early ‘illegal distribution opportunities’. The leaked papers were particularly severe on imposing crackdowns ‘on any aggression directed against the party and its leaders as well as against the promotion of other political systems and a free press.’
“All illegal and harmful information from Chinese and overseas websites have to be completely blocked and deleted”, the daily quoted a paper from the Ministry of Propaganda.
The document goes on to instruct provincial governments to set up local cells in order to manipulate public opinion to the Communist party’s advantage by participating in discussions in chat rooms and blogs. Reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution era, the leaked papers also prescribe the establishment of a corps of informants located ‘in schools, universities, workplaces, villages and housing estates’ who should be responsible for identifying and designating critical citizens.
In propaganda statements echoing of Mao’s era, China blames the west of conniving against it to stem its growth and international influence.
“Hostile forces inside and outside of China are urging us to change. They are trying by all means to contain our development, to defame our image and to infiltrate our ideology and our culture. They are trying to pressurise us to accept Western values and a Western political system”, Information quotes the document as saying.
The leaked papers reveal China’s growing concern over its poor international image and specify ways of increasing its diplomatic influence across the globe. The documents propose more stringent ways of preventing critical voices and critical news reports from finding their way to foreign media columns. This includes tightening the reigns on foreign journalists and NGO’s based in China, exerting ‘greater control over the access of Western cultural products to the Chinese market’, and preventing ‘regime enemies from speaking their mind in foreign media’.