China’s new campaign seeks to make ‘patriots’ of free-thinking intellectuals

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(, Aug05, 2018) – In a move to force the country’s intellectuals seen to question the communist party rule and its top leader Xi Jinping’s governance to toe the party line, China has announced a new ideological campaign, reported the Mandarin Service of Aug 3. The campaign especially targets those who may not be “patriotic” enough, a euphemism for those who do not wholeheartedly support the communist party rule under Xi’s absolute, limitless leadership.

Citing a joint statement from the party’s organization and propaganda departments, the official Xinhua news agency has said the campaign is based on remarks by President Xi on “carrying forward the spirit of patriotic struggle”.

The campaign envisages waging of “unremitting struggle” among intellectuals so as to “strengthen unity”. All departments are required to strengthen propaganda work, including “interpretation” of Xi’s directives, by organizing study sessions for intellectuals.

The directive has been cited as saying such sessions must “enhance the ideological identity, emotional identity, and value identification” of intellectuals in Xi’s “new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics”.

For this purpose, departments at all levels are required to submit concrete plans for implementing the directive.

The campaign has come in the wake of, among other things, a widely reported lengthy article published by Tsinghua University law scholar Xu Zhangrun, hitting out at the removal of presidential term-limits which enables Xi to rule China indefinitely.

The report cited retired party school professor Du Guang as saying it was hard to see how the directive could lead to anything useful.

“Ever since President Xi took power, we have seen his administration try to control too much as it is. … Exactly how they plan to tighten existing controls still further is very hard to say.”


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