Sunday, February 24, 2008

Spreading the Word

Not many people read Chairman Mao's Little Red Book anymore, but to be a true Chinese Communist Party member, patriots read the "Practical Manual for Propaganda Work".

Published by Red Flag Publishing House, the 2003 copy outlines the goals of propaganda, mainly to make sure everyone knows what the country's goals are, guide people in their thinking, and be positive in its slogans.

It warns, "The Internet has an even greater impact on people's thinking. People outside mainland China are always plotting ways to infiltrate China ideologically. We need to strengthen our management of news sites and other websites".

One interesting section is on propagandizing foreigners:
  1. Feeding propaganda to foreigners is done differently from domestic propaganda work. The first task is learning about your propaganda target, keeping in mind that the targets of foreign propaganda are different from the targets of domestic propaganda. The approach will also vary according to the country or area of the person.
  2. Take a subtler and gentler approach. Present facts and let them draw their own conclusions. Explain what the foreigner doesn't understand, even over simplifying it if necessary. Avoid using propaganda slogans or saying things that might cause disagreement.
  3. Make use of visitors to China to spread the propaganda message overseas. Be sure to give the foreigners only what they can accept. Take that what they see and their experiences in China will, when they return home, help to build an image of China in the minds of the people of the world (p. 118).
  4. Other methods include arranging interviews for the friendly foreign press, submitting articles to Xinhua and other Chinese publications aimed at foreign audiences and attention to the positiveness of TV programming on the closed circuit TV system of hotels frequented by foreigners (p. 118-119).
  5. Make sister city arrangements with foreign cities.
  6. Plan tourist group itineraries so visitors will get a positive impression of China.
  7. Arrange for tour group guides and interpreters to subscribe to foreign language Chinese magazines destined for foreign audiences.
Sometimes my colleagues do #2 on me, trying to impress on me various facts and figures about China, like its ever-growing GDP or certain sightseeing spots. But try as they might, I impress on them that numbers don't mean anything to me when a good chunk of the population is still living under the poverty line and that people need more education before the country can move ahead.

They concur and then I can see them wondering what their next propaganda tactic should be.

I must be a hard nut for them to crack.

1 comment:

Kai Sun said...

the quotations of the little red book and some short pieces from the collected works of mao are good reading material for high school or even primary school students. i dont know whether the chinese textbooks have incorporated into them . if not they should. pieces like ' theory of conflict
,'of friend and foe', 'an appreciation of dr. bethune' even some of his poems have literary merit. and some of his thinkings are from laotze. the new generation of young chinese should read about rather than playing video games and sing karaoke.