Waiting for Wikileaks: Beijing’s Seven Secrets

Perry Link – The New York Review of Books

Copyright The New York Review of Books
While people in the US and elsewhere have been reacting to the release by Wikileaks of classified US documents on the Afghan War, Chinese bloggers have been discussing the event in parallel with another in their own country. On July 21 in Beijing, four days before Wikileaks published its documents, Chinese President Hu Jintao convened a high-level meeting to discuss ways to prevent leaks from the archives of the Communist Party of China.
Party archives in China exist at local, provincial, and central levels and have always been secret and extremely closely guarded. At local levels, some, in recent years, have been digitized, but at the highest levels the original paper is guarded physically, and rules of access are complex and extremely rigid.
The importance of the July 21 meeting, which was officially called an “All-China Work Meeting on Party History,” is plain from its list of attendees, which included not only President Hu but his heir-apparent Xi Jinping, chief of propaganda Li Changchun, and dozens of other high officials. In his widely-publicized keynote, Xi Jinping said:
We must resolutely oppose any mistaken tendency to distort or defame the Party’s history [and] must use only authorized Party history to educate Party members, officials, and the masses, especially the young.
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