Chinese people who grew up in Mainland China are all familiar with "political study." People are fed up with it, so the trend has been to downplay it, except in schools, which remain the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) strategic battlefront in political education. State-run workplaces now place less emphasis on "political study." In the private sector, even fewer people are paying any attention.
This leads people to have the impression that things are much different now from the times of the Cultural Revolution. People now have more freedom and they even denigrate the Communist Party behind closed doors over the dinner table. This further leads them to believe that the environment will grow even more tolerant, culminating in the abolition of "political study" and an environment free from political propaganda. However, the changes in the CCP suggested by such thinking are a mirage.
Looking at the surface, there is less "political study" now, but individual horrors under the reign of terror, as well as horrors relived through stories passed from generation to generation, are heavily embedded in the people's consciousness. Such individual and family tales of woe lead one to walk on eggshells, trying to guess at the party's arbitrary intentions. People profess to know clearly what they can and cannot do, and how to dance appropriately to the party's tune. If we liken the party culture to higher education, the Chinese people obtained their PhD degrees in party culture a long time ago, and everyone has a wealth of post-doctoral experiences to boot.
Isn't the purpose of "political study" to force the people to keep in line with the Party's Central Committee? Now when people so ably follow the Party Central Committee voluntarily, what need is there for "political study"?
This is the phenomenon of party culture that I want to address here. When the people do not think in accordance with the party intention, the party implements a wave of "political study" and political propaganda to brainwash the people, or even eliminate people that dissent. However, when the people think in accordance with the party intention, there is no need for regular "political study" because the people have learnt to "self-discipline" themselves under the party culture. This form of control is the effect the Chinese people's being possessed by party nature, at the expense of human nature.
For example, the Communist Party does not need to say, "Whoever opposes the Communist Party will certainly come to no good end" every day, since the people know very well after the years of CCP ruthlessness to accept such a statement as a given. They need no reminder. However, since the persecution of a peaceful meditation practice like Falun Gong is far-fetched even under CCP culture, the CCP needed to resort to a massive Cultural Revolution-style slander campaign. It needed to intensify its "political study" and propaganda to sway public opinion. Once the people were misled by such false messages, they turn pale at the mere mention of Falun Gong. Accordingly, there was no longer any need for the CCP to enforce frequent "political study." The people were already toeing the party line.
So in the current situation, it is not that the CCP has loosened its policy, it's because the people are cooperating with the regime, following their hard-learnt so-called "self-discipline." Consequently, the method of which the CCP controls people has shifted from overtly coercive to subtle.
As a matter of fact, owing to the poison of the party culture, not only the Chinese people have learnt to "self-discipline" themselves, but also Western corporations such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, and Skype. They, too, have learnt the nature of the CCP through threats and enticement. Thus, such enterprises exercise their own "self-discipline," cooperating with the CCP and thereby persecuting the Chinese people.
Some people say the CCP's control of its people is through the process of continual reinforcement of Party norms. The process, driven by fear, enables the CCP to induce people's compliance with the Party culture. Since people fear reprisals, they opt to "self-discipline" in line with the Party.
What words would you find on the diploma of someone who graduated from the "school" of Party culture? "Self-discipline," which means people no longer do things in a normal fashion, and nor are they in accord with the traditional moral standards of the Chinese people. Rather, people operate by accepting and responding to the CCP's practice of using deceit and violence to further its ends. This is the fundamental flaw of such "self-discipline."
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