Who needs to know the intentions of the Chinese Communist Party?
These days the answer seems to be just about anyone. We are all affected by China’s rise and rise, alarmed at aggressive rhetoric, wondering if our future is secure.
What gets in the way of discerning China’s motives and intentions is China’s propaganda, which is skilfully calculated to make it seem that what is in their interests is also in our interests. How to see through the veil of beautiful-sounding propaganda slogans?
For a nuanced reading between the propaganda lines, check out Decoding CCP, and then make your own decisions as to how best to react to the promises and threats coming from China. Decoding CCP gives you tools you can use to assess whether China’s intentions are benign, scary, radical, conservative, capitalist, communist, triumphalist, defensive, competitive, or anti-competitive. As they say in China, clarify your thinking.
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy is shortly due to launch its Decoding CCP, a reliable guide to almost 500 propaganda jargon keywords, for both English and Tibetan readers. Tibetans have lived alongside their much bigger and more powerful Chinese neighbour for many centuries, and really know how Chinese leaders think. Tibetans in Tibet read these propaganda slogans every day, whether in Chinese or in the officially authorised Tibetan equivalents. Now the Tibetans are offering their deep insight into CCP motive and intentions, to the world.
Those official versions, from Chinese to English, and Chinese to Tibetan, are a starting point, and each Decoding CCP phrase starts with the authorised version. Then it gets unpacked, not as counter-propaganda, but as an insightful dive into implicit meanings, unconscious biases, hidden assumptions, and cultural resonances.
Who will find the Decoding CCP useful? Investment advisers, wealth managers, global commodity suppliers, policy analysts, think-tankers, opinion leaders, climate campaigners, environmentalists, human rights defenders, development project designers, wildlife biodiversity campaigners, democratic politicians will all find Decoding CCP a handy tool, and at times an opening to another world of salvationist thinking, with Chinese characteristics.
So, if you have come across a phrase Chinese officials use, and you’re not sure what it signifies, this website is for you, with a search engine tested with China-watchers, to ensure you quickly find what you are looking for, and get the broader perspective you need. This is more than a glossary, yet briefer than an academic essay pitched to insider specialists. It doesn’t tell you what to think, you draw your own conclusions.
Context tells us so much. Is Xi Jinping coming out with phrases coined by Mao Tse-tung? Is he performing the Confucian sages of old? What about his endless numerical lists, which command his hearers to follow the “four commitments” and the “six guarantees”? Within China, such phrases are repeated endlessly, on the assumption that everyone knows what these mnemonic shortcuts refer to. But what if, in the wider world, as we catch up with where China is at, we find they aren’t telling us what the “four assurances” actually refer to?
Users of this Decoding CCP will find quick clarification of specific queries. Users will also find CCP propaganda slogans that sound similar, and can readily discover their significance too. Sometimes, that is a surprising discovery, as keywords that sound alike can have sharply differing meanings, and we do now need to know. This decoder is designed to navigate intuitively from one slogan to another, inviting you to dive deeper into the authoritarian mind.
China’s leaders say they have a rational master plan for the future of humanity, a strategic plan that is scientific, logical, coherent, consistent, and capable of predictively controlling risks. A plunge into the Decoding CCP reveals the questionable categories, contradictions, unreflective habits of mind, Sinocentric racist assumptions, pseudo-scientific metaphors, and cognitive dissonances inherent in the propaganda package.
As China’s wealth and global reach expand, new propaganda phrases are issued, faster than ever. How to keep up? China seeks what it calls discourse power, which frames all debate about right and wrong, even creating a boundary around what is imaginable. Decoding CCP plans to update as new propaganda jargon is issued, on the website and, in 2022, as an app.