Various thinkers and researchers associated with the Chinese Communist Party determined that ideological dogmatism and ideological pluralism were both corrosive to the political resilience of the Soviet Union (see Shambaugh, 2008a: 65–73). Ideological dogmatism was characterized by rigid and uncritical applications of Marxist orthodoxy and was communicated through boring and tedious propaganda that failed to convince. Embracing ideological pluralism, however, was dangerous in that it seemed permissive of political pluralism, the logical extension of which was to call into question the communist party’s political control (Shambaugh, 2008a: 68). The implication seemed to be that an effectively communicated and flexible ideology that also firmly rejects and undermines competing ideologies can bolster the party’s power. Deng Xiaoping and his successors have been relatively adept at adjusting ideologies to the circumstances, but “the one constant dogma of Chinese communism is the monopoly of power by the communist party” (Tismaneanu, 2013: 93). Ideology in China, then, is meant to serve the purposes of sustaining the party’s rule regardless of whatever else it might accomplish. This was not just relevant to historical periods, but continues to animate Chinese efforts at thought work today. A leaked Party document in 2013 described a reinvigoration and subtle reorientation of its ideological efforts:

In an effort to improve the people’s livelihood, we are putting forth new measures to benefit the people so they may look forward to a better future: disseminating thought on the cultural front as the most important political task; studying, implementing, and advancing the spirit of the Eighteenth Party Congress; rapidly arousing mass fervor, proclaiming that socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Chinese dream are the main theme of our age; expanding and strengthening positive propaganda; strengthening guidance on deep-seated problems; strengthening the management of ideological fronts; promoting unification of thought; concentrating our strength and implementing the development of a positive atmosphere and providing spiritual strength to the party and nation.

(ChinaFile, 2013)