(Xue’s note: I saw this blog directed from China Digital Times today and thought this was relevant to our research. This is a very long chronicle and I have copied and pasted three most striking quotes. )
July 29, 2014, Wang Weiguang gave a speech which was subsequently published under the title "Wang Weiguang's Speech at CASS's 2014 'Three Discipline Projects' Working Meeting" (王伟光在中国社科院2014年“三项纪律”建设专题工作会议上的讲话). Some excerpts:
CASS is not some loose alliance of "freelance writers," but rather is an important battle front for ideological propaganda led by the Party, an important mechanism for academic theory, and an important battlefield for ideology.
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CASS is not some loose alliance of "freelance writers" who can come and go as they please, say whatever is on their minds, write whatever they want to write. It is apolitical, unorganized, or undisciplined.
A so-called "freelance writer" is not some "liberated literati" or "cultural entrepreneur" who is entirely free from leadership by a political party, unrestricted by group discipline, or unrestrained by ethical norms. In real life there is no such thing as a so-called "freelance writer" who is entirely without a political position or an ideological disposition. In the old China, which was subjected to reactionary rule, there were advanced intellectuals who were identified or self-identified as "freelance writers," but in fact they were pursuing ambitious ideals, soldiers in the struggle for the people's enterprise. Lu Xun is an outstanding representative of this group. Under the conditions of Party-led socialism with Chinese characteristics, anyone who would think to become a completely unrestricted "freelance writer" and attempt to cast off the leadership of the Party, veer from the larger political direction, and cease to do scholarship in service of the people, no matter how they try to make it seem praise-worthy, really are they are doing is consciously or unconsciously either pursuing personal aggrandizement or being used as the tool of some third party to achieve some political purpose. Certain extremists have even embarked on a path that is anti-Party and anti-socialism. Under no circumstances will CASS engage in any theoretical academic research for the sake of one person's fame or some other political goal. Rather, our scholarship serves the Party, the people, the development of China, and the vitality of its people. CASS members are not merely common academics, but rather are cultural workers for the Party's ideological theories and, beyond that, soldiers on the Party's ideological and cultural front lines. We absolutely would not stoop to the level of a "freelance writer," and act like some those public Big Vs and Internet intellectuals and engage in self-promotion, speak on our own behalf, or do whatever amuses us. Every comrade at CASS must be clear on this: the Party and the State have no need for this kind of scholar. All of CASS's research must be in the service of the needs of the Party and the people, in the service of policy-making of the Communist Party Central Committee, in the service of the glory of the development of liberal arts with Chinese characteristics, and in the service of the enterprise of socialism with Chinese characteristics. And when it comes to problematic speech, we must dare to speak out to repudiate it and launch struggles against it in order to provide physical and intellectual support to the promotion of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the early realization of the Chinese dream of the grand resurgence of the Chinese people.
At the same time, we should insist upon the policy of "let 100 flowers bloom, let 100 schools of thought contend" in order to provide CASS members with sufficient creative space and academic freedom. Of course, academic freedom must be measured by the yardstick of correct political orientation, and subject to the restrictions of Party discipline, national laws, and ethical norms. Only in this way can we ensure that scholarly research will not veer off course.
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同时，还应坚决贯彻“百花齐放、百家争鸣”方针，为科研人员提供充分的创造空间和学术自由。. . . . 当然，学术自由必须以正确的政治方向为准绳，以党纪国法和道德规范为约束，只有这样才能保障学术研究不走偏。
Feb. 4, 2014: Unfurl the Banners of the Ideological Struggle
People have built up a strong fence, but then we go and throw the gate wide open, because anything that is Western must be good. Just look at NetEase's "Open Classroom" as a random example. It takes foreign university classes and move them online into its own website. Internationalizing is not something bad, but it cannot be done with no sense of guardedness whatsoever, and at the very least there needs to be a line of caution, and not simply blindly studying. There are many similar examples, while we continue to internationalize ourselves, we should learn how to absorb what is nourishing, but be watchful against any kind of shrewd infiltration.Under no circumstances allow some bizarre genetic mutation whereby we become transformed into zombies spreading the virus of Western value systems.
February 5, 2015, the website of the China Education Daily (sponsored by the Ministry of Education) published an editorial by a pseudonymous commentator entitled "Strengthening University Ideology Work is Not 'Brainwashing'" (加强高校意识形态工作不是“洗脑”). Some excerpts:
We have observed that when some people see strengthening ideology building they have a very negative reaction, and believe this is about "unifying thought" and "suppressing academic freedom." There may be many reasons for this. The first is that some people don't have a full understanding of the true meaning of strengthening ideology. They do not understand ideology, and their impressions remain at the conceptual stage, and therefore easily believe that strengthening ideology building is simply "brainwashing."
The second reason is that propaganda is not meeting its goals, and the "ideology" as it is commonly understood by the people continues to be abstract in content, and people have no personal experience to relate it to, and therefore have a strong sense of discomfort.
The third reason is that some people really do worship everything foreign, "the foreign moon is fuller than the China moon," and this drives some people to have a confused understanding of ideology.
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All social activities and public discourse must comply with State's laws and regulations. This is a criteria for a modern civilized society. In our universities some teachers speak out in public forums to advocate things that violate China's laws and regulations, with the result that our students are being ideologically led astray. Clearly, this is not within the scope of academic freedom. Furthermore, this kind of thing is no longer the exception in our universities. This, therefore, is the target of strengthening university ideology construction.
Some commentary has noted that officials are opposed to the dissemination of Western value systems. But this is primarily with respect to Western political values, and not the ordinary philosophy of Western societies. Western political values are incompatible with China's political realities, and if they were to achieve a large scale infiltration into Chinese society, they would inevitably lead to an erosion of China's political foundations, and in the end would lead to uncertainty for China's political stability.
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By Chen Lai, Professor at Tsinghua University’s Department of Philosophy
1, When we discuss special characteristics of Chinese values, we can’t limit ourselves to just Chinese culture. We should find reference of Western culture, particularly contemporary Western cultural values. Compared to contemporary Western values, there are four major characteristics of Chinese values.
2, Responsibility before freedom: Chinese values stress individual’s responsibility towards others, the community and the whole nature. It demonstrates a strong sense of responsibility. The perspective of Chinese values on relations is different from the individual-oriented perspective. It advocates that when an individual is constructing a relation/link/connection with others, they should not be self-centered. They should be self-possessed, but they should take others more seriously. And their personal interests should submit to responsibilities.
2, 责任先于自由: 中华价值观强调个人对他人、社群甚至自然界所负有的责任，体现出强烈的责任意识。中华价值观注重关系的立场与个人本位的立场不同，它主张个人与他方构成关系时不能以自我为中心，而应以自我为出发点、以对方为重，个人利益要服从责任的要求。
3, In contemporary mainstream Western culture, human rights is a moral and political requirement that the individual demands from the country and the government. It focuses more on the government’s responsibility and duty. However, it can’t clearly define individuals’ responsibilities and duties towards their family, others and the society. This kind of value of rights is the core of contemporary Western liberalism philosophy. It is the consequence of contemporary Western civil society and political development. However, it focuses on individual’s requirements towards society, and ignores individuals’ responsibility towards society. It focuses on individuals’ protection of their own rights, and ignores the fact that individuals have the responsibility to respect other people’s rights.
4: Duty before rights: Contemporary Western values highly stress the priority of individual rights. However, Chinese values, particularly Confucian values stress the priority of duty more. In contemporary society, the rights of individuals’ survival and development is guaranteed by the Constitution and the law. Of course it is also acknowledged by social values. However, it does not necessarily mean that individual rights are the most important principle, or social values only provide support for individual rights. In terms of values and morality, the power discourse and the power mindset is limited. The value system that prioritizes individual rights is probably the source of many of the problems we have today.
4: 义务先于权利: 西方近现代价值观非常强调个人权利的优先性，而中华价值观特别是儒家价值观更强调义务的优先性。在现代社会，个人生存发展权利为宪法和法律所确认，当然也为社会价值观念所承认。但这并不意味着个人权利是最重要的价值，或社会价值观仅仅为个人权利提供支持。在价值和伦理问题上，权利话语和权利思维是有局限性的，以个人权利为中心的价值观甚至是当今众多问题产生的根源之一。
5: Community before the individual: After the Renaissance, the West advocates the people-oriented value. However, in Contemporary Western society they highlight more on Humanism. Chinese culture and Chinese value system don’t advocate the individual-oriented principle. They highlight on the community. They make it clear that the community’s value is higher than personal values. From the perspective of Chinese culture and Chinese value system, individuals can’t live alone, and they must live within a community. Their moral cultivation should also improve from living within a community. Chinese culture and Chinese values particularly cherish the value of the family. Family is the primary social organization where individuals develop towards society. Chinese culture and Chinese value system stress that individual’s values can’t be higher than the community’s value. They highlight the integration of individual and the community and individual’s duty towards the community. They highlight the importance of the whole community’s values.
5: 群体高于个人: 西方在文艺复兴之后也倡导以人为本，但西方近代的人本主义更多强调以个人为本;中华文化和中华价值观不主张以个人为本，而是强调以群体为本，强调群体在价值上高于个人。在中华文化和中华价值观看来，个体不能离群索居，一定要在群体之中生存生活，其道德修为也要在社群生活中增进。中华文化和中华价值观特别重视家庭价值，而家庭是个体向社会发展的第一个社群层级。中华文化和中华价值观强调个人价值不能高于社群价值，强调个人与群体的交融、个人对群体的义务，强调社群整体利益的重要性。
6, The core moral principle of contemporary Western liberalism is the priority of individual rights. They advocate that everyone has their right to engage in activities based on their own personal values. They believe that it is against individual’s freedom to require for the goodness of a community. However, Chinese culture and Chinese value system highlight the goodness of a community, social responsibility and morality that’s good for the community. The community and individual, responsibility and rights are different moral concepts. They reflect different moral stances and are suitable in different value systems. In contemporary society, we should stick with the stance that prioritizes the community and responsibility, which is an important part of Chinese culture and Chinese value system. While we praise freedom and human rights, we should seriously denounce the stance that prioritizes the individual.
7, Harmony higher than conflicts: The notion of the unity between nature and human does not advocate conquering nature or changing nature. It does not advocate the opposition between people and nature. Rather it advocates the harmony between people and nature. Based on this thought principle, people can’t act against nature, but rather submit to the rules of nature and adapt their behavior based on nature…… The principle of the harmony between individual and nature is very instrumental on correcting the concept that people could limitlessly conquer nature and ignore environmental or ecological equilibrium. It would be instrumental to promote overall social and economical sustainable development…. In Western culture and Western value system there is the idea of conflicts. They are always self-centered and always want to use their power to get rid of others, manipulate others and take advantage of others.
7, 和谐高于冲突: 天人合一思想不强调征服自然、改造自然，不主张天、人对立，而主张天、人协调。根据这种思想，人不能违背自然，而应顺从自然规律，使自己的行为与自然相协调....这种追求人与自然和谐的思想, 对纠正无限制地征服自然、不顾及环境与生态平衡的观念，促进经济社会全面协调可持续发展，具有重要现实意义...在西方文化和西方价值观中有一种冲突意识，总想用自己的力量，以自我为中心，克服非我、宰制他者、占有别人。
Writer: Mo Tian (could be a pseudonym, didn’t find the real name quickly)
1, Through this wall (the Great Wall) we could see that the nation seems to be always on guard, or it seems it is always ready to be bullied and waiting for the attack and invasion from the outside. Just like what it says in the national anthem, “we are proceeding toward enemies’ artillery fire”. It seems moving and tragic and even sacrificial. But after some pondering you will ask: why do we have to proceed towards enemies’ artillery fire? It is as if it is not interesting without enemies’ artillery fire.
2, A nation that fantasizes that they could guard foreign invasion with a wall, or a nation that hopes to proceed only when enemies’ artillery fire strikes, isn’t she a bit retarded?
3, The advancement of the era means that there are also invisible walls. Though it is not seen through eyes but it does exist. It is also tall and formidable. There are also grids that could kill people. This is the firewall.
4, The wall on the Internet could also be jumped over and this is why VPN was invented. “Using the VPN has become a special way to surf online. Is it a progress of mankind, or a tragedy of mankind?”
5, I think in due time the wall on the Internet will be torn (like the German Wall). It is just a matter of time.