A senior official for China's Communist Party has said that it is facing a heavy flood of online information that is attempting to distort and slander the ruling party's official history. Party history is known to be a sensitive topic in China, where the party's legitimacy relies on its historical achievements.
Among the successes the party claims is its victory over Japan before and during the Second World War. However, information is now being put online that states that the then-Nationalist government did most of the fighting against the Japanese at the time.
The Communist Party has referred to those who stray from the party line as practising "historical nihilism", and noted that the greatest threat to the party's legitimacy comes from people casting doubt over the leadership. According to Reuters, the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward remain sensitive topics as well.
Zhang Shujun, deputy head of the Party History Research Centre, told reporters: "Our attitude is very clear when it comes to historical nihilism, and that is to have a clear-cut stance on opposing it, to oppose any mistaken point of view or tendency on party history."
Shujun said that one claim circulating the internet notes that Mao Zedong, founder of modern China, did not write most of the texts that have been attributed to him. Shujun said that the claims had been dismissed by the party and people looking after the Mao archives had assisted in convincing the public that Zadong did not engage in ghostwriting.
Shujun said: "At present there's just too much of this information on the internet. We need to set forth the facts and discuss them rationally. The focus is to collect and evaluate the wrong points of view and tendencies on the internet that distort party history and rebut them."
The battle against the online information comes as President Xi Jinping launched a campaign calling on members of the Communist Party to educate themselves about the party to boost loyalty. Between 20 June and 10 July, all party members at government agencies were required to participate in a quiz about party policy, discipline guidelines, and punishment for breaking party rules.