PRESIDENT Jiang Zemin has called on the media and other propaganda units to promote stability by rallying support around the post-Deng Xiaoping leadership. Speaking yesterday at the National Conference of the Heads of Propaganda Departments, Mr Jiang, who is also party General Secretary, urged regional administrations and cadres to subsume their parochial and individual interests to the 'overall situation'. Aside from professing allegiance to the leadership with himself as the 'core', Mr Jiang asked the propaganda departments to propagate the virtue of 'unifying the people's thoughts' under the banner of Deng Xiaoping Thought. Xinhua (the New China News Agency) reported last night that propaganda officials from the regions, including those of Shanghai, Tianjin and Jiangsu, spoke at the conclave, which was chaired by the Head of the Propaganda Department Ding Guan'gen. Mr Jiang, who takes a keen interest in propaganda, asked newspaper editors and staff 'on the ideological and propaganda front' to 'guide the entire party towards showing concern for, protecting and obeying the overall situation'. The 'overall situation' is a code word for the 'party centre', meaning the Politburo led by the General Secretary. At the meeting, Mr Jiang reiterated the importance of playing up the 'central themes of the times', a reference to socialism, patriotism and collectivism. Sources said propaganda cadres endorsed a so-called '20-point directive' on what and what not to report in the media. Areas the press should avoid included 'negative phenomena' such as labour unrest or other conflicts between the Government and the masses. Media units should foster unity and stability in the run-up to the 'new era', a euphemism for the post-Deng epoch. In his speech, Mr Jiang also paid homage to the ideal of a 'multi-faceted' media and culture, but he did not repeat the traditional communist commitment to 'letting a hundred flowers bloom, a hundred schools of thought contend'. The party chief also called upon the authorities to groom a new corps of professionally qualified propaganda workers. Media sources in Beijing said Mr Jiang and Mr Ding often vetted commentaries in major media such as the People's Daily. In spite of Mr Deng's call for 'thought liberation', Mr Jiang has retained a large number of conservative ideologues in the propaganda establishment. The conference is also scheduled to discuss the party's 'propaganda strategy' in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the West.