The state propaganda machine has decided to turn the floods to President Jiang Zemin's advantage, using them to maximise his leadership in the party and PLA, and to boost national leadership. The decision was taken at a national propaganda meeting of the mainland's major news organisations which ended yesterday in Beijing. Propaganda tsar Ding Guangen has instructed news cadres to use reports to promote Mr Jiang's statesmanship in battling the floods. 'We should focus on how the soldiers and civilians rallied together and united to fight floods under the strategic planning of President Jiang,' Xinhua said. 'The spirit of Mr Jiang's speeches should be exemplified,' said Mr Ding. Reports must put more emphasis on 'grand co-operation, grand unity, the supremacy of socialism and self-reliance of the masses', the news agency said. Sources in Beijing said such revolutionary-style rhetoric was similar to that of the Cultural Revolution when the masses were mobilised. It is thought Mr Jiang aimed to use the flood propaganda drive to promote party and army unity and divert public anxiety over social problems such as rampant unemployment. The meeting also concluded that reports this month should focus on progress in re-employment, anti-smuggling and anti-corruption campaigns, and economic successes. The image of the PLA, under attack for corruption and reviled for crushing pro-democracy activists in 1989, should also be praised for its flood-fighting efforts which, reports claim, proved to be the country's biggest peacetime military mobilisation.