Universities in rush to study Xi Jinping Thought

A day after thousands of Communist Party delegates voted to have President Xi Jinping’s thought included in the official party dogma, one of the country’s elite universities immediately opened a research centre dedicated to his ideology and within the next few days around 40 universities followed suit, writes Simon Denyer for The Washington Post.

The scramble to set up centres for ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’ is the latest example of the narrowing space for independent thought in modern China, and the ever tighter ideological controls being imposed under Xi’s rule, foreign and domestic experts said. It is also at odds with China’s ambitions to be a global power in academia, and undermines the chances of constructive debate over government policy. “This strikes me as a ‘Great Leap Backwards’ for Chinese academia,” said Edward Vickers, an expert in Chinese education at Japan’s Kyushu University.

In a speech in December, Xi declared that universities should be strongholds of the party, while teachers should be disseminators of “advanced ideology” and “staunch supporters” of Communist Party rule. Six months later, the party’s anti-corruption watchdog concluded an inspection of the nation’s elite universities and accused 14 of them of ideological weakness for not making enough effort to teach and defend Communist Party rule. It appears the higher education sector has learned its lesson.
Full report on The Washington Post site