China warns against Western decadence


PEKING -- China's state-run media today called for urgent measures to end the 'harmful activities' of senior cultural officials who have allowed the youth to be corrupted by 'decadent capitalist ideas' from the West.

A lengthy front-page page commentary in the Guangming Daily, a national newspaper for intellectuals, criticized unspecified Communist Party members for opposing China's fierce new drive to purge Western influence from the cultural sphere.


The article, which was read on nationwide radio news, said 'bourgeois liberal' ideas had been 'spreading through' the arts in recent years.

'In our opening to the outside world, it is inevitable that decadent capitalist ideas and lifestyles will creep in, including decadent and backward cultural ideas and products,' said the commentary, signed by editors of a cultural gazette.

It said 'a small number' of party members in cultural circles have been promoting such 'bad tendencies' as 'terrific new creations' and evidence of 'opening up.'

'But while these kind of activities may enjoy the brief support of a few gullible party members, they are actually harming the youth,' the article said.

'Right now, the most urgent task within the party and leading cultural departments is to resolutely conquer such weak and slack attitudes and put an end to such harmful activities as inciting and supporting the trend toward bourgeois liberalism,' it said.


The commentary said unspecified individuals had been 'drawing support from' the media of the West, Hong Kong and Macao to apply pressure to critics of their 'mistaken ideas.'

It quoted extensively from a 1983 speech by senior leader Deng Xiaoping that criticized authors for being 'nonchalant' about literature's duty to promote socialism and preferring to write about things that are 'gloomy and grey.'

The Guangming Daily also published a speech by Deng Liqun, a member of the powerful Communist Party Secretariat and one of the leaders of a conservative faction believed opposed to some of Deng Xiaoping's capitalist-style reforms.

The speech, which was published by most other major newspapers Thursday, called for tighter ideological control over students to prevent a repeat of student demonstrations for democracy that erupted in at least 13 cities in December.

The protests prompted a fierce crackdown on Western ideas that toppled party leader Hu Yaobang Jan. 16 and led to the expulsion from the party of three prominent intellectuals. An unknown number of officials have been dismissed.

Many diplomats believe various factions are currently involved in a behind-the-scenes power struggle as they jockey for position in preparation for a major Communist Party congress in the autumn.


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