China Focus: China trumpets "core socialist values" amid moral decline
China has trumpeted core socialist values in an ongoing Marxist education campaign amid a perceived moral decline in society after decades of breakneck economic growth.
The People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC), ran a series of editorials and op-eds on Monday urging efforts to bolster core socialist values and promote cultural and ethical progress.
"As social reform has gradually deepened and the country has increasingly opened up to the world, Chinese have embraced diversified thoughts, including the decayed, outdated ideals of mammonism and extreme individualism," the newspaper said in one editorial.
On Dec. 23, 2013, the CPC issued an unusually detailed guideline on bolstering core socialist values to realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.
According to the guideline, core socialist values include the national goals of prosperity, democracy, civility, and harmony; the social goals of freedom, equality, justice and the rule of law; and the individual values of patriotism, dedication, integrity and friendship.
Social openness and freedom have been greatly increased in the past three decades, accompanied by excessive liberalism, which has harmed social morality, said Liu Dongchao, a Marxism professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, referring to unexpected online "moral support" for the recent Dongguan scandal.
A number of social networking website users expressed sympathy after state television exposed the thriving underground sex trade in south China's Dongguan on Feb. 9 by sharing encouraging phrases, such as "Dongguan, hang in there!" and "Today we are all Dongguan people."
"Such widespread online backlash against CCTV reflects the conflict and confrontation between mainstream social values and those negative and ridiculous thoughts," Liu said, adding that it's necessary to promote core socialist values among the public.
Senior Chinese official Liu Yunshan on Jan. 14 said a positive social atmosphere should be created to praise the virtue of keeping one's word, punish those who break promises, and to promote polite tourist behavior to improve the tarnished national image of Chinese travelers.
Food safety has been a sore point for Chinese consumers after several scandals were revealed, from melamine-tainted milk in 2008, which ruined public trust in the domestic dairy industry, to a recent scandal in which millions of tonnes of cooking oil was recycled and sold back to customers.
"Integrity, which is highlighted as one of the individual values, serves as a lifeline for the sound development of the market economy, and any commercial cheating not only causes public scepticism but also dents people's faith in integrity," said the People's Daily in an op-ed.
The Party called on several sectors of society, from schools to media organizations, to promote the core socialist values.
Core socialist values should be included in the overall national education plan and "cover all schools and those receiving education," said the latest guideline, adding that the values should be incorporated into the curriculum and become a way of thinking for students.
The media must steadfastly uphold correct guidance of public opinion, the guideline said, adding that radio and television stations should run more public service broadcasts spreading mainstream socialist values during prime time, and newspapers should give more prominence to such issues.
"Core socialist values will serve the need to create a positive social environment and make the nation ideologically and spiritually stronger," Liu said.