07/11/2014, 00.00
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Chinese Academy of Social Sciences . . . and journalists to toe the Party line

by Wang Zhicheng
Several academics support political reform. The Party feels its monopoly of power is threatened, fears it might end up like the USSR. Journalists are forbidden to pass information to foreign media, and could be charged with leaking "state secrets."

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Scholars working for the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) should be judged mainly on their loyalty to Communist ideology, the People's Daily wrote recently.

For the Academy, ideology should be a "criterion for the assessment of cadres" and those who "violate political discipline" should "fired without exception."

As the central government's top think tank, CASS provides research, advice and insight into China's changing social and political life.

Increasingly, some scholars have argued in favour of political reform and democracy, distancing themselves from the President Xi Jinping's centralised vision.

In an internal speech on 10 June, Zhang Yingwei, head of the party's discipline inspection office at CASS, accused the institute of being "infiltrated by foreign forces" and "conducting illegal collusion during [politically] sensitive times".

Because of social pressures, the Party feels its undisputed leadership is being threatened, and has become fearful that the regime might go the way of the Soviet Union.

A few days ago, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued a warning against passing information to foreign online or conventional media, tightening its grip on journalists.

The latter could be held accountable for disclosing "state secrets", and be prosecuted as a consequence.

Equally, Chinese journalists are banned from working for foreign media or as freelancers.

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