Maintaining Stability at a Technical School

Chenzhou Vocational Technical College's campus guard. (湖南省学校周边治安综合治理信息网)

Chenzhou Vocational Technical College’s campus guard. (湖南省学校周边治安综合治理信息网)

Chinese are political entities. Guangdong Baiyun University’s “Internet Red Army”, research on “Essentials to Winning New Victories for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics,” and instructions on inculcating patriotism among faculty and students all make this clear.

The following document, found recently by CDT Chinese editors, dates from 2012, and is available inside the Great Firewall on Baidu Wenku. Issued by faculty at the Chenzhou Vocational Technical College in , it warns that universities have become lax in their systemic monitoring and guidance of student activity. “ is an important and sensitive battle ground for stability maintenance,” explain the authors, all faculty who jointly hold political appointments. They are especially concerned about “turmoil” in the Middle East and North Africa, hinting at the . The authors describe two groups comprised of students and overseen by faculty to combat “hostile forces infiltrating colleges and universities or attempting to use students to create chaos”: an intelligence team and an Internet commentary team, the latter reminiscent of the Fifty Cent Party.

Issues and Countermeasures Concerning Intelligence Collection and Internet Comment Teams

Chenzhou Vocational Technical College

Li Boyong, Deng Huajun, Li Haibiao

Abstract: Following the progress of colleges and universities in building harmonious campuses, the issues of safety and stability are receiving growing attention. The safety and stability of colleges and universities not only form the foundation for building harmonious campuses, but are also prerequisites for the rapid development of schools. Only by realizing safety and stability in colleges and universities can we push their rapid development and build harmonious and united campuses. Strengthening the establishment of college and university stability maintenance intelligence collection and stability maintenance Internet comment teams is an important component of school safety and stability.

Currently, as the fast development of the market economy and the deepening of reform and opening continue, the ideology, values, moral standards, and attitude towards career among university and college students have changed greatly. The international political atmosphere is especially complicated this year. The Middle East and North Africa are in turmoil. Some hostile elements are incorrigible, going so far as to collude with international anti-China forces, secretly engaging in subversive propaganda and incitement among students through email, flyers, text messages, the Internet, and other means. It has gradually become more difficult to control these groups. The work of establishing stability maintenance intelligence collection and stability maintenance Internet comment teams (hereafter referred to as the “two teams”) is an explicit request from the provincial public security office; an important method and effective strategy to advance conflict-resolution, foster innovative management, and promote stability and harmony in colleges and universities; and a necessity for improving the system of stability maintenance at the grassroots level.

I. Problems in the Construction of the “Two Teams”

 1. Insufficient attention paid to the construction of the “two teams.” Many colleges and universities  focus their daily work on the immediate results of curriculum development, campus development, and research development. They no not adequately emphasize the work of safety and stability, in particular confining the work of developing the “two teams” to meetings, documents, and addresses. [The administrators] often count on luck and trust there will be no problems, or that only minor problems will arise. This inevitably leads to the lack of institutional safeguards, financial support, and personnel assignments for the development of the “two teams.” 

2. Unclear institutional arrangements for construction of the “two teams.” In the establishing of stability maintenance intelligence collection and stability maintenance Internet comment teams, should the security office [of the school] or the propaganda department take charge? Should the school or the [academic] department take charge? These questions are often poorly articulated. Unclear institutional arrangement leads to the inability to build teams. In particular, personnel selection, task assignment, and relevant safeguards cannot be set in place.

3. Unarticulated responsibilities in the construction of the “two teams.” Other issues that lead to poor results are the lack of a clear distinction between the duties of the stability maintenance intelligence collection team and the stability maintenance Internet comment team, and the lack of clarity about specific tasks. Many universities have not fully arranged training, communication, and skill improvement opportunities for team members.

4. Insufficient supervision and performance review in construction of the “two teams.” Standardizing supervision and performance review for the “two teams” is key to effectively enhancing daily work. Those few who work only nominally, or whose work is ineffective, as well as the lack of regular assignments and encouragement for those who are are active and enthusiastic, all severely disrupt the momentum of team-building.

II. Essential Strategies for the Construction of the “Two Teams”

 1. Put colleges and universities on the front line of safety and stability work.

Maintaining stability in colleges and universities is not only a crucial component of maintaining the political and social stability of the country, but more importantly is a political task concerning the big picture of education and nation construction, a necessity for socio-economic development, and a crucial guarantee for maintaining the continuous, healthy, coordinated, and speedy development of higher education. In this exceptional historical period of the economic construction and social development of our country, there are complicated factors affecting the stability of colleges and universities. The situation is serious. Thus, we suggest that the stability work of colleges and universities be included in relevant curriculum development and the application and review of all types of projects, in order to enhance the attention of colleges and universities to this work.

This year’s applications for “12th Five-Year Plan” key vocational education projects in Hunan explicitly states that schools at which serious accidents have occurred in the past three years due to negligence of safety responsibility which generated adverse social effects will be disqualified from application. This rings the alarm for many university leaders who have not paid attention to safety and stability work. If in the various project evaluations, applications, and reviews performed by the education bureau in the future, we firmly hold to the idea that “safety and stability override everything else,” call out in one voice and stick to one goal, then there is no excuse for not being able to properly develop the “two teams.” 

2. Straighten out institutional arrangements and carefully select personnel to launch work. 

Selecting personnel for the “two teams” is of crucial importance. Many schools hand this work directly to their security office or propaganda department. Because these two departments have very little connection with students, especially newly-admitted students, they have certain limitations in personnel selection and management. If new staff are not competent, it is hard to find substitutes; and if they are replaced, the secrecy of the work is lost. Moreover, because effective channels for guidance and encouragement are lacking, team construction and function eventually become mere formalities.

Our school’s method is to divide the “two teams” into school-wide and departmental levels. The Safety and Stability Information Office is established at the school level and is directly subject to the University Stability Maintenance Office. The secretary of the university and the head of the security office serve concurrently as the heads of the information office. The Youth League secretary is in charge of personnel selection, management, and performance checks; the security office head is in charge of work assignments, training, and guidance. At the school-wide level, we assign the secretary of each general branch of the Youth League to be members of the “two teams” and use them as anchors to expand to every department and class, then appointing the Youth League committee members of each class to be members of the “two teams” at the departmental level. The school Youth League committee and its departmental branches are responsible for personnel selection, discipline education, and supervising the daily work of the “two teams.” The security office is responsible for training and guidance related to job function and work methods. Basic requirements for members include: (1) a relatively high political awareness, a strong sense of responsibility, a good ideological character, and moral cultivation; (2) relatively strong capacity and drive to organize and manage, the ability to sift through information reported to him/her by other students, and a certain grounding among the students as a group; (3) a spirit of complete devotion and duty, and the ability to voluntarily sacrifice after-school time to collect and collate information.

In principle, members of the “two teams” cannot change over as they please. Because the job of the Youth League general branch committee members is relatively easy, the members have more time and energy to look for suspicious signs. The school Safety and Stability Information Office is responsible for collecting and organizing relevant information about public opinion in school, presenting reasonable thoughts and suggestions from the students to relevant departments, carrying out relevant field research activities, and reporting on safety and security work.

3. Clarify job duties and strengthen training and guidance to promote effective work.

The main duties of the stability maintenance intelligence collection team are to collect information on illegal forces which lure and collude with students to engage in illegal activities, or which incite and plan mass incidents on campus, as well as information on domestic and foreign hostile forces penetrating the school; collect information on issues of public security, prevention, security and hidden dangers for key school positions; collect students’ thoughts and suggestions on school administration as well as other things that affect safety and stability; and report this information in written form to all departmental branches of the Youth League (heads of information stations) on a weekly basis. For problems that can be handled at the department level, the Party secretary and the head of the department should arrange to promptly resolve them and report this information and its solution to the school Safety and Stability Information Office for the record. For problems that exceed the authority of the department, the head of the department information station should collect information and report it to the school Safety and Security Information Office with suggestions for resolution.

The main responsibilities of stability maintenance Internet commentators are to adeptly identify negative posts and articles about the university on major websites, BBS [forums] and post bars; and to skillfully utilize relevant strategies to refute and decrease the impact of these posts. They must study continuously, improve their writing, learn to write in different styles, and be good at imitating other people’s writing styles–these are the basic skills of stability maintenance Internet commentators. Meanwhile, they should acquire the skills to communicate with Internet users, privately integrate with them, and obtain their trust, especially with those whose writing is influential. If possible, commentators should strive to become administrators of some important BBS forums. Pay attention to cultivating awareness of policies and regulations. Commentators must not misunderstand the spirit of current work. Work to fully understand the sample posts issued by the higher authorities, master technique through comprehensive study, and draw inferences from examples.

In daily work, we also stress training and guidance in “two teams” working methods, quality of work, and work ideology, so that team members are able to continuously adapt to new circumstances and changes with the overall situation of school stability maintenance. Make sure they always keep in mind their glorious duty, are not disrupted by hardships and misunderstandings, do not care about their image, are not enraged by their opponents, and remain rational and calm. Team members must have a firm standing and clear mind, maintaining clarity in the midst of misleading trends of thought and cherishing their political future.

4. Strengthen management and assessment to ensure the continuity of the teams’ work.

Implement a system of contract employment [as opposed to tenured appointment] to stimulate members’ sense of responsibility and honor. As new students will continuously replace the old, we will hold a grand welcome ceremony for every batch of new employees. During the ceremony, Vice Dean Li Boyong, who is in charge of safety and stability work, will hand over letters of employment in person and state the strict requirements and earnest hopes for their future work. This ceremony will strengthen the sense of responsibility and work attitude of “two teams” members.

Hold regular meetings in order to ensure the organized and efficient launch of work. Hold weekly departmental meetings and monthly school-wide meetings, taking strict attendance every time. Let “two teams” members communicate about their work, analyze relatively pressing problems, and suggest workable solutions. At the same time, make plans for the next phase of work.  During meetings, inform everyone of this week’s or this month’s trends of public opinion and management of those opinions. The implementation of regular meetings will offer an institutional basis for strengthening the fighting capacity and team spirit of the student-run “two teams.”

Improve the incentive system to ensure the continuity of team construction. In building the stability maintenance intelligence collection and stability maintenance Internet comment teams, we pay great attention to improving the incentive system for student members. Besides letting them carefully complete their work and take on certain responsibilities, we offer them a certain level of compensation to stimulate their passion and initiative for work. Give them extra credit or priority in the annual selection of “outstanding students” and scholarship recipients. Set up relevant work-study positions for members so that their stability maintenance work is indirectly subsidized. Every semester, the school will hold a ceremony for all student members of the “two teams,” honoring those who have strong sense of work responsibility and who collect more information. Through awards and substantial incentives, we will ceaselessly stimulate students’ enthusiasm to join the “two teams.”

III. Issues of Concern in the Construction of the “Two Teams”

1. Ensure the identities of participating members are protected.

Due to the rather particular identities of stability maintenance intelligence collection and stability maintenance Internet comment team members, the frequency with which the information they gather involves sensitive issues and even affects the general interests of hostile forces, and the fact that their commentary often contradicts the fervent thinking widespread among students, the school should protect the identities of information collectors who provide intelligence on hostile forces infiltrating colleges and universities or attempting to use students to create chaos, and of the commentators who deal with Internet information according to the spirit from above; and should prevent retaliation or harm [to team members] because they have hurt the interests of hostile forces. We should also protect information collectors who provide intelligence on student mass incidents, preventing these team members from being isolated from their fellow students and thus affecting their normal study and life. We have formulated a strict plan for secrecy. For example, every member must at the very least not disclose the nature of his/her work under any circumstances; not discuss his/her job outside of work; and promptly delete work email immediately after it has been read.

2. Speed up information feedback.

Information feedback is the most important task for student stability maintenance intelligence collectors. Besides regular feedback, we should further stress prompt feedback, since dissatisfaction with school management work often leads students to change their thinking and to the occurrence of sudden incidents. If the university fails to promptly gather relevant information and take decisive measures, then it may lead to serious mass incidents. For example, on April 6, the information office of the Department of Automation received a report from a class information collector that students were spreading the following message via QQ groups and text messages: “Because dining hall prices are high and the quality of food is low, we call on students to collectively refuse to eat there on April 8 (Friday).” After receiving the report from the information collector, the department immediately reported it to schools leaders, who paid special attention to it. The vice principal in charge [of the department] called up relevant departmental chiefs to hold a special meeting to be briefed on the situation and come up with countermeasures. It was decided that the cafeteria must hold the baseline set by provincial public security office that “compared with the second half of last year, the price should not increase, and the quality should not decrease”; and that the cafeteria must treat this as a political task, and make sure prices are stable and that food quality is good. All departmental secretaries and student section chiefs immediately called student meetings, stating the importance of cherishing our country’s hard-earned harmony in the presence of an unstable international environment. The office of general services promptly conducted market research, producing and circulating a chart comparing the prices of all kinds of vegetables, meat, and raw materials from the second half of last year and the present. Because we received the information in time and adopted prevention measures, the students came to understand the objective reasons behind the excessive rise in prices. As a result, at noon on April 8, all students on campus ate at the dining hall as normal, preventing the mass strike from happening.

Therefore, information collectors must report the trend of thoughts among students and sudden incidents in a timely manner. They may report via telephone, cell phone, email, text messages,  etc. to the school information office, so that the school can promptly adopt relevant measures and prevent students from being used by unlawful elements.

In this year’s July 1 speech, General Secretary made important judgements on the “Four Tests” and “Four Dangers,” which demand that we think about the fate of the Party and the country from the overall situation of the country and the people. We must be mindful of potential challenges at all times and be prepared for danger in time of peace. Higher education is an important and sensitive battle ground for stability maintenance. We should be prepared for serious incidents to occur at any time, and make great efforts to strengthen the construction of the team of the stability maintenance intelligence collection and stability maintenance Internet comment teams.

Authors:

1. Li Boyong, male, professor. Vice dean of Chenzhou Vocational Technical College, he also manages students, the Communist Youth League Committee, security, and the armed forces [department].

2. Deng Huajun, male, Chenzhou Vocational Technical College, chief of the Department of Security.

3. Li Haibiao, male, political worker, Secretary of Communist Youth League at Chenzhou Vocational Technical College.

Via CDT Chinese. Translation by Mengyu Dong.