Strengthening the CCP’s “Ideological Work”

Available Downloads

What role does ideology play within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)? This is a question analysts of Chinese politics have been discussing and debating for decades. After the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and the subsequent rise to power of the more pragmatic and market-tolerant leader Deng Xiaoping, many have assumed that the CCP all but abandoned its ideological convictions in the pursuit of capitalist profit.

We now live in the Xi Jinping era, and there can be no doubt that a grand effort is underway to reimbue the entire political structure with a greater sense of ideological conviction. To better understand precisely what the Party means when it talks about ideology, the Freeman Chair in China Studies will be releasing a series of translations of important but largely ignored speeches, documents, and articles that are openly distributed within CCP circles. The goal of releasing these translations is to provide further context about the CCP’s goals, ambitions, and realities for non-Chinese speakers.

The attached essay was written by Huang Xianghuai, a senior researcher at the CCP Central Party School, a key institution for developing and disseminating new ideological and political guidelines. This article focuses on “ideological work,” or the Party’s efforts to build and maintain a coherence of values and beliefs within the Party ranks in order to strengthen organizational integrity. Huang expounds with great directness some of the key messages the senior Party leadership aims to disseminate amongst lower-level cadres and government officials. In contrast to Beijing’s external messaging—which emphasizes peace and cooperation with the United States—internal discourse is imbued with a much darker view of China’s relationship with the outside world.

Jude Blanchette is the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

This essay is made possible by general support to CSIS. No direct sponsorship contributed to this essay.