- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2016

Long a world leader in the field, Chinese Communist Party officials are now openly complaining that their propaganda machine isn’t firing on all cylinders these days.

An article posted on the party’s website Thursday detailed the findings of a two-month probe of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, warning that the party’s main propaganda arm has been slipping in its job of persuading the masses and telling the latest chapter in China’s glorious story.

The CCDI “lacks depth in its research into developing contemporary China’s Marxism,” report author WangHaichen concluded, according to a report by the German news site Deutsche Welle. One problem: The group’s work is too subtle for the intended audience.

“The effect of guiding art and literature to serve socialism and the people was not obvious enough,” Mr. Wang wrote, “and the news propaganda is not targeted and effective enough.”

President Xi Jinping has made reining in the media a key feature of his agenda, issuing a call for state media outlets to “strictly adhere to the orders of the Chinese Communist Party.” Reporters and editors at outlets such as state broadcaster CCTV and the official Xinhua news agency “must love the party, protect the party, and closely align themselves with the party leadership in thought, politics and action,” Mr. Xi said during a high-profile visit to their Beijing newsroom in February.

Thursday’s damning review said party propagandists have failed to exploit the possibilities of web-based media platforms to burnish the party’s image and lacked the necessary ideological rigor.

“There are also weak spots in implementing the principle of ‘the party controls the media’ in new media and it is not forceful enough in coordinating the ideological and political work at universities,” the report said.

Deutsche Welle said that China spends an estimated $10 billion annually on external propaganda efforts.

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