Three Stresses campaign

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The "Three Stresses" campaign (Chinese :三讲; pinyin :sānjiǎng) was an ideological rectification campaign among Communist Party members in China. The initiative was formally launched in 1998 by then-Communist Party General Secretary Jiang Zemin, and its name refers to the need to “stress study, stress politics, stress righteousness” (jiang xuexi, jiang zhengzhi, jiang zhengqi). The campaign was intended to strengthen discipline within the Communist Party and consolidate support for Jiang Zemin. [1] During the campaign, which spanned from late 1998 to 2000, senior staff within the government, military, party offices, universities, and state and private enterprises were required to spend several weeks engaging in political study and self-criticism sessions with the goal of improving unity and enhancing loyalty to the Communist Party. [2] According to a retired official cited in the New York Times, Jiang also hoped to use the campaign to "identify loyal, promising officials for future leadership positions." [3]

Simplified Chinese characters standardized Chinese characters developed in mainland China

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

Communist Party of China Political party of the Peoples Republic of China

The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party is the sole governing party within mainland China, permitting only eight other, subordinated parties to co-exist, those making up the United Front. It was founded in 1921, chiefly by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party grew quickly, and by 1949 it had driven the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It also controls the world's largest armed forces, the People's Liberation Army.

Contents

The initiative was only the second major party rectification campaigns launched since the death of Mao Zedong (the previous campaign having begun in 1983). [4]

Mao Zedong Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

Mao Zedong, also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who became the founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he ruled as the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. His theories, military strategies, and political policies are collectively known as Maoism.

The Anti-Spiritual-Pollution Campaign was a political campaign spearheaded by conservative factions within the Communist Party of China that lasted from October 1983 to December 1983. In general, its advocates wanted to curb Western-inspired liberal ideas among the Chinese populace, a by-product of nascent economic reforms begun in 1978.

Background

China’s embrace of a market economy and the dismantling of the Marxist–Leninist system in the 1980s and 1990s precipitated a deterioration in ideological unity and purpose within the Communist Party. Moreover, the party was facing a variety of internal and external challenges, including but not limited to growing crime and corruption, income disparities, weakening central government control, and calls for political liberalization. [4]

In order to address these challenges, the Communist Party leadership under Jiang Zemin sought to adapt and redefine the official ideology to meet changing circumstances, while stressing the continued importance of loyalty to party. Andrew Nathan and Bruce Gilley write that the campaign served another purpose: if Jiang Zemin wished to have a lasting impact on the Communist Party itself, “he had to come forward with a new conception of its mandate and its basis for action.” [5] To that end, Jiang enunciated a number of new approaches and slogans in the early and mid-1990s. [5] The earliest proposals for the Three Stresses campaign emerged in 1995, when Jiang began proposed an ideological rectification campaign urging party leaders to “stress politics.” [1] The idea initially met with opposition within the party; Qiao Shi and Li Ruihuan, in particular, viewed the proposal as a means of self-aggrandizement. [5] In 1998, following the forced retirement of Qiao Shi, Jiang proceeded to roll out the three stresses campaign, which leadership hoped would stave off atrophy and decay within the party. [5]

Qiao Shi former Politburo Standing Committee member of the Communist Party of China

Qiao Shi was a Chinese politician and one of the top leaders of the Communist Party of China. He was a member of the party's top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, from 1987 to 1997. He was a contender for the paramount leadership of China, but lost out to his political rival Jiang Zemin, who assumed the post of General Secretary of the party in 1989. Qiao Shi instead served as Chairman of the National People's Congress, then the third-ranked political position, from 1993 until his retirement in 1998. Compared with his peers, including Jiang Zemin, Qiao Shi adopted a more liberal stance in political and economic policy, promoting the rule of law and market-oriented reform of state-owned enterprises.

Li Ruihuan former Politburo Standing Committee member of the Communist Party of China

Li Ruihuan is a retired Chinese politician. Li was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the country's de facto top decision making body, between 1992 and 2002. Li served as Chairman of the 9th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) from 1993 to 2003; before that, he was the party chief of Tianjin.

The campaign

In October 1998, Jiang Zemin, with assistance from then-executive secretary of the Secretariat Hu Jintao and chief of staff Zeng Qinghong announced plans for the Three Stresses campaign to the Politburo. In December of the same year, Hu Jintao publicly launched the campaign with an appearance on television, in which he urged party members to write self-criticisms and participate in work meetings to discuss their methods of carrying out their work. Party members were also encouraged to go to the countryside to promote the campaign. [5]

Hu Jintao former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China

Hu Jintao is a retired Chinese politician who was the paramount leader of China from 2002 to 2012. He held the offices of General Secretary of the Communist Party from 2002 to 2012, President of the People's Republic from 2003 to 2013 and Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 2004 to 2012. He was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body, from 1992 to 2012.

Zeng Qinghong is a retired Chinese politician. He was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, China's highest leadership council, and top-ranked member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee between 2002 and 2007. He also served as the Vice-President of the People's Republic of China from 2003 to 2008.

Self-criticism involves how an individual evaluates oneself. Self-criticism in psychology is typically studied and discussed as a negative personality trait in which a person has a disrupted self-identity. The opposite of self-criticism would be someone who has a coherent, comprehensive, and generally positive self-identity. Self-criticism is often associated with major depressive disorder. Some theorists define self-criticism as a mark of a certain type of depression, and in general people with depression tend to be more self critical than those without depression. People with depression are typically higher on self-criticism than people without depression, and even after depressive episodes they will continue to display self-critical personalities. Much of the scientific focus on self-criticism is because of its association with depression.

During its initial phase, the Three Stresses campaign was carried out within the army, government agencies and Communist Party offices. Thereafter, senior staff within publishing houses, universities, research organizations, and state-owned enterprises were also enjoined to participate in political study sessions. [3] In addition to studying the writings of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin, senior staff within workplaces were required to write critiques of both their own political failings, and criticisms of their superiors and workplaces. Although the campaign employed techniques of ideological study and self-criticism reminiscent of the Mao era, the sessions were described as comparatively tame. [3]

Deng Xiaoping Chinese politician, Paramount leader of China

Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician who was the paramount leader of the People's Republic of China from 1978 until his retirement in 1989. After Chairman Mao Zedong's death in 1976, Deng led China through far-reaching market-economy reforms.

Writing for the Far Eastern Economic Review, Susan Lawrence described the impact of the Three Stresses campaign on the country's corporate sector. The account told of how, in the summer of 1999, senior staff at a major bank were required to participate in dozens of group meetings "in which they have criticized their own and each other's political failings," draft self-criticism papers, in addition to conducting nearly 100 individual political sessions. The objective of the campaign was described as improving the unity of senior staff and ensuring their loyalty to the Communist Party and Jiang Zemin. [6]

Reception

Views on the Three Stresses campaign within the Communist Party leadership were deeply divided, and several senior officials viewed the campaign as an attempt by Jiang Zemin to enhance his own prestige. Li Ruihuan and Qiao Shi continued to oppose the campaign, with the latter describing it as an attempt to erect a personality cult around Jiang. [5] Politburo member Tian Jiyun called the campaign a "joke", and expressed doubt that it could have the intended effect of enhancing discipline within the party. The criticisms led Jiang to 'clarify' during a March 2000 Politburo meeting that he had no intention using the Three Stresses to enhance his personal authority, and that it was intended purely to "rectify the Party's work style and purify the ranks of the Party's leading cadres." [5] Premier Zhu Rongji and National People's Congress Chairman Li Peng were reportedly ambivalent towards the initiative. However, a number of rising young leaders within the Communist Party embraced the initiative as a means of gaining favor with Jiang. Among them were Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Li Changchun, Bo Xilai, and Jia Qinglin. [5]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 Jia Hepeng, ‘The Three Represents Campaign: Reform the Party of Indoctrinate the Capitalists?’ Archived 2011-03-28 at the Wayback Machine ., The Cato Journal (2004).
  2. Erik Eckholm, Likely to Be a Best Seller in China: It's No Mystery, New York Times, 1 June 2000.
  3. 1 2 3 Erik Eckholm, Repeat After Him: The Party Isn't Over, New York Times, 2 May 1999.
  4. 1 2 Joseph Fewsmith, “CCP Launches Campaign to Maintain the Advanced Nature of Party Members”, China Leadership Monitor, No. 13.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Andrew Nathan and Bruce Gilley, “China's New Rulers: The Secret Files,” (New York, NY: New York Review Books, 2003), pp 190 - 192.
  6. Susan V. Lawrence, China: Stressful Summer, Far Eastern Economic Review, 19 August 1999.