Chinese Party Notice on Conversation Discipline During Spring Festival

Chinese expat websites report that the Chinese Communist Party (according to a joint notice put by the Social Stability Office, Party Propaganda Department and Public Security Office of Mushan County, Leshan City, Sichuan Province) is asking Communist Party members and cadres to ensure conversation discipline during the Spring Festival holidays. “Party secretaries, assert your authority”, permit no talk of topics such as Huawei, US – China trade friction! This seems to be the Chinese version of no arguments about Trump over turkey albeit with the serious enforcement powers of the Party and PRC state behind it.

Chinese dissident websites share the journalistic standards of Xinhua (many dissident journalists and writers used to work for Xinhua).. A long list of topics. I usually read the dissident websites like I read science fiction — fun and it helps expand the imagination. Some or even much of the information there is true to a certain extent, mixed in the gossip. Some of the information is leaked out of China at considerable personal risk by people outraged by the abuses of the party-state. This information is plausible though. One should never underestimate Party paranoia. During my ten years in mainland China, I got the impression that the Chinese Communist Party often seems much less complacent about the party’s future prospects than do many western analysts.

There is a surprising part that people shouldn’t be reading websites that teach them how to make Molotov Cocktails or improvised explosive devices! Reminds me of the student Molotov Cocktails hurled at US Embassy Beijing in 1999 — many of the Chinese “students” (didn’t do a demographic study at the time) put gasoline in plastic soft drink bottles or didn’t leave and empty space at the top of a glass bottle to allow the gasoline to ignite so many of the Molotov Cocktails. So many were duds. Perhaps the Party is counting on blocking progress in that area!

Worries about mad bombers or terrorist attacks are not that unusual in China. I remember during my five years in Chengdu there were several alerts about bombers on the loose and police checkpoint was set up on a major highways coming out of the mountains in Chengdu. The back story seems to have been that with the large amount of illegal wildcat mining in Sichuan Province, miners needed explosives so they would steal or bribe them out of state warehouses. When the warehouses took inventory some explosive (gasp) would be missing and so the search for wild bombers would begin.

There is another part about “don’t believe those rumors about democracy. Party members and cadres shouldn’t believe promises that only people at the provincial level and above will be purged or that good deeds can cancel out previous crimes.

I imagine that a notice (if it is an actual notice) like this would be internal confidential to a certain level and then relevant parts would be conveyed orally for further distribution. If it is real, then it is an interesting reflection on the current state of party paranoa. Then again, just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you!

I found this article posted on the expat website Wenxue City at

About 高大伟 David Cowhig

Now retired, translated Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and studying some things. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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