Saturday, February 21, 2015

Global Times: Websites Twisted Nankai Dean's Statement About People Today Having a Cultural Revolution Mentality

People's Daily report on Gong Ke's speech
On February 9, 2015, the education channel of the People's Daily website published an article entitled "Nankai Dean: Ideology Work Cannot Go to the Other Extreme" (南开校长:意识形态工作不能走到另外一个极端). Some excerpts:
"Recently I have seen online that some people are talking about cleaning out, purifying, and rectifying the teaching ranks, and this is something that I cannot agree with, this is the mentality of 1957 or 1966." Gong Ke, Dean of Nankai University, spoke at today's online forum, saying that while we are strengthening ideological work we cannot go to the other extreme, we cannot repeat the "leftist" mistakes of history in our treatment of intellectuals. 
“最近我在网上看有人讲要全面清理、纯洁、整顿教师队伍,这个我不能同意,这是1957年的思维或者1966年的思维。” 南开大学校长龚克今天在本网访谈时表示,我们在加强意识形态工作时不能走到另外一个极端上去,不能重蹈历史上对待知识分子的“左”的错误。
Xinhua republished the article on the same day under the headline "Ideological Work Cannot Repeat 'Leftist' Mistakes" (意识形态工作不能重蹈‘左’的错误). The article was originally available here - - but has been deleted.

On February 11, 2015, the state-sponsored Global Times, which is published by the People's Daily, published an editorial entitled "Online 'Montages' Dig at Minister and Dean" (互联网“蒙太奇”坑完部长坑校长). Some excerpts:
Xinhua report on Gong Ke speech
There's never a shortage of excitement on the Internet. Early in the morning yesterday many websites prominently displayed articles about an interview with Gong Ke, Dean of Nankai University, under the headline "Ideological Work Cannot Repeat 'Leftist' Mistakes."
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Gong Ke's speech was selectively reported, and the aforementioned content was only a portion of what he said. This report was reposted by certain commercial websites with a modified headline and placed in prominent positions, causing it to take no a meaning beyond its original content. 
Taken as a whole, what Gong Ke said is defensible and stands up to analysis. But singling out those specific statements from the entirety of what was said at the seminar that day, and putting on a headline like the one mentioned above, is the kind of "montaging" that one commonly sees online these days. When people draw connections between the strengthening of university ideology propaganda work, Yuan Guiren's statements about implementing this project that certain people have attacked, and some people declaring "the anti-rightists have returned," it creates a particularly forceful impact.
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Many voices online claim that this problem "can be ignored" or "there's nothing to be done about it." But if we see a repeat of this kind manipulating and twisting of statements by Gong Ke and Yuan Guiren, everyone must see that it is truly "no small thing." 
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