Based on Xi Jinping’s speeches, officers will be trained to apply the principle that human rights are what the Party says they are.
by Hu Zimo
Deputy Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong. From Weibo.
Last week, on March 9, the Party Committee of the Ministry of Public Security and its Theoretical Learning Center Group met under the presidency of Deputy Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong (one of the rising stars in Chinese nomenklatura) and sent to public security offices all over China new directives for training and formation. These directives are important because they indicate which principles should be taught to law enforcement officers in China and should guide their daily work.
At the center of the new directives is the reference to a speech delivered by Xi Jinping on March 1, 2022, at the inauguration of the 2022 Spring Semester Central Party School (National School of Administration) training class for young and middle-aged cadres of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In that speech, Xi returned on its favorite theme of corruption. This is important for public security officers, the directives say, as a corrupt officer betrays the country and the Party.
However, it is important to understand what “corruption” means for Xi Jinping. With somewhat ascetic accents, Xi said in the speech of March 1 that some bureaucrats are thieves but those who do not love and unconditionally obey the Party are already “thieves in their heart” even if they do not steal money nor take bribes.
Xi Jinping’s speech of March 1. Source: Government of the People’s Republic of China.
There is the dust of “greed and lust” that accumulates and corrupts, but the most dangerous dust is the “ideological dust” of those who do not study enough “the Party’s theory, line, principles and policies, the Party’s constitution, the Party’s rules and discipline, and the Party’s original mission.” When security officers are called to decide “whether some things should be done or not,” the standard governing the answer is not some bourgeois notion of morality but the very concrete criterion of whether the action benefits or damages the Party.
Xi’s speech, the directives say, “pointed out that the Party spirit plays a decisive role in establishing and practicing the correct view.” “Only with a strong Party spirit and abandoning selfish thoughts can we ensure that there is no political deviation in the performance.”
“The most fundamental ability is ideological literacy,” Xi said, and public security officers should keep it in mind. “Marxist standpoints, viewpoints, and methods are the skills to do a good job, and a powerful ideological weapon that guides us to understand and transform the world.” No matter how pressing other needs may appear, officers should devote adequate time to study Marxism. Not any Marxism, of course. “All work must be based on the implementation of the decisions and arrangements of the CCP Central Committee.”
Xi also said, the directives note, that Chinese Communists should “prepare for a great struggle,” where they will confront “trials and tribulations.” Ideology is the main weapon to be prepared for these difficult times.
An image of Xi Jinping during the speech of March 1. Source: Government of the People’s Republic of China.
Xi’s March 1 speech is not the only document that the directives mandate public security officers should study. There is a second textbook, the speech delivered by Xi Jinping on February 25, 2022, at the 37th collective study session of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee. This is important for public security officers because they may be criticized for violating human rights, and may even ask themselves whether this criticism is justified.
In the speech, Xi Jinping explained the principle of “the Party’s absolute leadership over human rights work.” As in many other speeches, Xi insisted that there are no universal human rights. Nations have a right to define their human rights, and human rights with Chinese characteristics are not the same as their counterparts in the West.
The principle of “the Party’s absolute leadership over human rights work” means that in their Chinese version human rights prioritize the struggle against poverty. This struggle can only be won by following the leadership of the Party, which knows better than any individual or group what needs to be done to eradicate poverty. Achieving victory over poverty and “human rights with Chinese characteristics” means following the Party and its orders even when one does not understand why they are issued. You may not know, but the Party knows. It may appear to you that human rights are not respected, but in fact the Party knows better what needs to be done to protect human rights (with Chinese characteristics).
As directives for training law enforcement officers, these principles are dangerous. Officers are taught that they should obey the Party even when it may seem to them that they are violating the citizens’ human rights. This only indicates, they are told, that they have a wrong notion of human rights, or do not understand that the Party, whose vision is better and more comprehensive, is in fact protecting human rights (with Chinese characteristic) even when it seems it is violating them.