Jiang Rallies Support with Call for Ideological Control

Article excerpt

Skyscrapers have mushroomed, Mao suits have given way to mobile phones, and private businessmen are making small fortunes. But yesterday, the Chinese Communist Party demonstrated how after 18 years of economic reform, official political rhetoric is still stuck in the old era, writes Teresa Poole.

At the end of the annual gathering of the central committee, the most important political meeting of the year, China's leaders focused on "promoting ethical and cultural progress", a byword for tightening ideological control.

The four-day annual party plenum ended last night with a call for more emphasis on "ideological education" and the "national spirit of self reliance". The plenum document described how a "marked improvement of citizens' quality should be realised", through everything from "penetrating and sustained" education in patriotism to "excellent literary works". Behind the call for "lofty ideals" is, of course, a more serious game. This is the last plenum before next Autumn's full party congress at which top level jobs will be shuffled. …