China Universities must Become Communist Party Hubs, President Xi Jinping Says
Chinese authorities have been urged to intensify ideological controls on academia and turn the country's universities into Communist party hubs.
"Higher education must adhere to political orientation," Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a high-profile address to top Communist party officials and university heads.
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The president said that there is a need to transform universities into strongholds that are loyal to the party's leadership.
Speaking at a two-day congress on "ideological and political work" in Beijing, the president also ordered that political education should be made more appealing.
"China's higher education institutions are under the leadership of the CCP (China Communist Party), and are socialist colleges with Chinese characteristics, so higher education must be guided by Marxism, and the Party's policies in education must be fully carried out," Xi said.
President Xi added that ideological and political work is fundamentally about the individual and that the work must focus on students, caring for them and serving them and also helping them improve in ideological quality.
"Students should be educated to be aware of the development trends of China and the world as large," Xi said.
This latest development is seen as one of Beijing's efforts to silence opposition to the ruling elite.
Carl Minzner, an expert on Chinese Law and Politics at the University of Fordham, believes that Xi's speech was a signal that his government was embarking on the next phase of a decade-long effort to win back areas of the country it feared were getting out of control.
"What you are seeing is the reassertion of ideological control because they feel that colleges and schools are the hotbeds of ideas that could potentially be problematic," Minzner said.
Minzner believes that ideas of constitutionalism and liberalism are among the many issues the Chinese government will be trying to control.