Beijing units in Hong Kong have been asked to help boost the authority and prestige of President Jiang Zemin in the territory. The request is part of a circular on the 'spirit' of the sixth plenum of the Communist Party Central Committee which has been relayed by central authorities to Hong Kong-based units of the Chinese party and Government. The plenum, which closed on October 10, passed a resolution on building socialist 'spiritual civilisation'. It also decided that in 1997, Beijing should focus on two tasks: a smooth transition of Hong Kong to Chinese rule; and preparations for the 15th Party Congress late next year. According to Chinese sources, the circular pointed out that the authority and prestige of Mr Jiang, considered the 'core' of the party leadership, must be enhanced around the mainland and in Hong Kong. Mr Jiang, who will most likely gain a new five-year term as party chief at the 15th Congress, is expected to come to Hong Kong on July 1 to officiate at the handover ceremony. The circular also asked the Hong Kong branch of Xinhua (the New China News Agency) and other Chinese offices in Hong Kong to do a good job of explaining the meaning of 'spiritual civilisation' to the local public. It said that emphasis should be put on promoting patriotism and beneficial aspects of Chinese culture. Moreover, Hong Kong residents must not be left with the impression that the party leadership has forsaken Deng Xiaoping's teaching about 'taking economic construction as the core of party work'. A 'misunderstanding' that Mr Jiang's key slogan, 'Talk more about politics', is a revival of Maoist-style values must also be cleared up, the circular says. Political observers pointed out it was the first time in recent memory central party authorities had asked Hong Kong units to boost the authority of a leader. The sources added, however, that the units were given a lot of leeway in devising plans to implement the instruction. Meanwhile, to better promote the sixth plenum spirit, ideological and propaganda units in China have come up with strict regulations to police the mainland media. For example, party and government departments of all levels have been asked to close down non-essential in-house publications. In Beijing, the Propaganda Department is continuing to hold more ideological education programmes among the senior cadres of media and publication units. During these sessions, the cadres are asked to conduct 'criticism and self-criticism' on whether recently published books, articles or video products had departed from Mr Jiang's dictum on the correct political line.