Concerning the Situation in the Ideological Sphere
Concerning the Situation in the Ideological Sphere (关于当前意识形态领域情况的通报) also known as Document No. 9 (中办发〔2013〕9号), is a confidential internal document widely circulated within the Communist Party of China in 2013 by the General Office of the Communist Party of China. The document was first published in July, 2012. The document warns of seven dangerous Western values, allegedly including media freedom and judicial independence. With respect to education coverage of the topics is forbidden. There is an emphasis on controlling and preventing communication using the internet of ideas subversive to one party rule. The document was issued in the context of planned economic reforms and increased calls for political reform.
The seven dangerous values
- Western constitutional democracy (the separation of powers, the multi-party system, general elections, independent judiciaries, nationalized armies, and other characteristics)
- Universal values of human rights (Western freedom, democracy, and human rights would be universal and eternal)
- Civil society (attempt to dismantle the ruling party’s social foundation)
- Pro-market neo-liberalism
- Media independence (West’s idea of journalism)
- Historical "nihilism” (criticisms of past errors of the party)
- Questioning Reform and Opening.
The contents of the memo became known when accounts of presenting it to cadre in the Liaoyuan municipal government were published in the local paper. In May 2013 cadre at the Chongqing Party Committee for Urban and Rural Construction studied the material, as did cadre in Anyang. However, there were no explicit mentions of the seven Western values above.
In April 2015, the Wall Street Journal's Josh Chin  reported a 71-year-old Chinese journalist was convicted for releasing Document 9. Journalist, Gao Yu, was sentenced to seven years in prison by Beijing’s Third Intermediate People’s Court after being found guilty in a closed trial of leaking state secrets to foreign media, Ms. Gao was accused by the court of leaking an internal Communist Party directive to an overseas Chinese news site in 2013, according to her lawyer, Mo Shaoping. Known as Document No. 9. Historically, it is rare for Chinese authorities to detain or jail elderly critics, who were traditionally given quiet warnings when they crossed political red lines. The article suggests that charge is a pretext for aggressive action against political dissent and cites other examples of elderly publishers / journalist being prosecuted.
According to news analysis by a reporter at The New York Times, the emphasis on political discipline is intended to forestall leftist, or Maoist, opposition to needed economic reforms avoiding the split which resulted in the Soviet Union during Gorbachev's reform efforts when media freedom resulted in publishing of a great deal of critical historical material and alienation of the mass of party workers.
Notes and references
- Raymond Li (August 29, 2013). "Seven subjects off limits for teaching, Chinese universities told: Civil rights, press freedom and party's mistakes among subjects banned from teaching in order described by an academic as back-pedalling". South China Morning Post. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- "China Warns Officials Against ‘Dangerous’ Western Values" article by Chris Buckley in The New York Times May 13, 2013
- "China’s New Leadership Takes Hard Line in Secret Memo" article by Christopher Buckley in The New York Times August 19, 2013
- 市委召开常委（扩大）会议 专题学习当前意识形态领域情况通报，咸阳日报，2013年5月21日，See also：
- 高举旗帜坚定信心 坚决同党中央保持高度一致，重庆市城乡建设委员会，2013-05-09，See also：
- ānyáng zhèngxié xuéxí “dāngqián yìshí xíngtài lǐngyù qíngkuàng de tōngbào” de tōngzhī, dàgōng wǎng,2013-05-13