China has intensified its campaign to clean up online posts seen as contradictory to the Communist Party narrative on history, as the country gears up for a landmark national congress later in the year. Two media platforms owned by tech start-up ByteDance – Toutiao and Douyin – issued notices urging users to report posts containing “historical nihilism” – a party term for opinions or research challenging its official version of history. Toutiao is an algorithm-driven news platform while Douyin is the mainland version of TikTok – a video-sharing app also owned by Beijing-based ByteDance. The notices, sent out on Monday and Tuesday, laid out five focuses for the clean-up starting next month. They include provocative discussion of sensitive or trending topics on the history of the party, country or military; criticism of Marxism, Mao Zedong Thought and the theory of Deng Xiaoping; disputes over the party’s evolutionary history and China’s economic and open-door policies; content that vilifies the party and state leaders; as well as parodies of communist history or the whitewashing of “villains” in the official version of history. From Mao to Xi: how Communist Party leaders have shaped its ideology The campaign also targets posts that discredit traditional Chinese culture, or socialist and revolutionary culture. Any content that glorifies Western culture or history and foreign colonialism will also be under scrutiny. The notices are the latest in a clean-up campaign launched recently by several major media and social media platforms in China. The country’s biggest knowledge-sharing platform operator, Zhihu, said its drive last week handled 67 complaints related to historical nihilism. The authors of some posts claimed to be “reflecting on history” or “declassifying” historical information but they were actually disseminating harmful information related to historical nihilism, Zhihu said of the April 19-24 campaign. Sina Kandian, a social video platform from microblogging giant Sina Corp , also launched a similar campaign, warning that user accounts might be permanently deleted if they published content revealing “historical nihilism”. This comes after Chinese internet operators launched a wave of clean-up operations last year ahead of Communist Party centenary celebrations, an occasion used by President Xi Jinping to highlight the achievements of the party and the importance of having a strong leader to steer the country. Xi in February last year had called on party members to uphold the official history to strengthen their loyalty. The following May, China’s internet regulator said it had overseen the deletion of more than 2 million posts containing “harmful” discussions about history, amid preparations to mark the party centenary in July. Mainland Chinese content sharing platforms already went through a major clean-up of other content in March, with the likes of Weibo, Douyin, Baidu and Tencent receiving more than 370,000 reports about privacy intrusion, defamation, or insults. Chinese academic under fire over ‘historical nihilism’ remarks China has been resorting to mass campaigns, such as encouraging the public to report to the authorities, to enforce its censorship aims. The latest campaign comes as the party focuses on its 20th national congress this autumn, a historic event ushering in not only a major leadership reshuffle but also an unprecedented third term for Xi as general secretary. His two predecessors both stepped down after the stipulated two terms.