While curricula in China’s schools are designed and approved by the Chinese communist regime, international schools in China for foreign citizens have been independent of that. However, in recent years, the regime has tightened control and pushed its indoctrination into the international schools.
In 1987, the Chinese regime started to allow foreign embassies in China to open international schools for children of foreign diplomats. Since then, international schools for foreign citizens have become popular in mainland China among rich Chinese whose children have been allowed to enroll.
Chun Shenjun (alias), who was a former Chinese government official and now lives in California, told The Epoch Times that China’s “international schools” are gradually losing their independence. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has tightened control over education in recent years, and the international schools are inevitably affected.
According to public data, International schools in mainland China have three categories: one is “foreign international schools,” which are run by foreign institutions or individuals; the other is “private international schools” set up by Chinese private capital; the third is “international department” and “international classes” within Chinese schools.
In addition to foreign students and students who are citizens of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, many wealthy mainland parents send their children to international schools where classes are taught in English to prepare them to study abroad in the future.
Chun said that in the early days, international schools were a relative “pure land” in China’s education system, free from the CCP’s influence and interference. But now, the regime has ordered that CCP party branch committees be set up inside international schools.
The Chinese regime has tightened control over curriculum in international schools through policies in recent years.
In 2015 a proposal was put out at the CCP’s annual National People’s Congress to scrutinize the high school curriculum in international schools, especially the content related to ideology, sovereignty, ethnic policy, and religion. The proposal also suggested mandating the use of the CCP standardized curriculum in international schools.
In 2016, a government document entitled “Shanghai Foreign-Related Private Schools Policy Interpretation Meeting” was revealed to the public. It said that top CCP leaders believed the curriculum of international schools was “out of control” and required all the curricula in private international schools to be reviewed and approved by the CCP government. The document emphasized the control of ideological education in the curricula.
Chun said that now students in international schools have begun to diverge. Students from Hong Kong and Taiwan quarrel with local Chinese students over political issues. The textbooks in international schools now promote the CCP’s ideology and narrative, such as saying that Hong Kong people are thugs, and China will not give up using military means to “reunify Taiwan.” “Gradually the students at international schools are becoming divided. At first, they still rode the same school bus. Later, they had to ride separate school buses, and they were put into separate classes,” she said.
According to Chun, some international schools even ended up building a wall on campus to separate international students from local Chinese students. Only students with Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan passports or a foreign nationality can take foreign teachers’ courses. This not only cancels the opportunity for mainland students to avoid the CCP’s brainwashing courses but also makes the mainland students in international schools appear to be very isolated. The original purpose of establishing the international schools has been lost, and there is no opportunity for communication between Chinese and foreign students.
Mrs. Liu, who has lived in the United States for years, told The Epoch Times that she sent her children to international schools in China to develop their English language skills, but more importantly to escape the Chinese government’s brainwashing education. Back then, the international school she chose used Cambridge textbooks and all teachers were foreign teachers. It was a relatively clean place in the Chinese education system, free of CCP ideology. She said: “China’s politics, culture, and history are all altered and distorted by the CCP. Instead of having children brainwashed, it’s better to go to an international school for education.”
Liu did not expect that today’s international schools would fall into the clutches of the CCP. She said that fortunately, her children already graduated, otherwise she really wouldn’t know how to deal with it.
“Chinese children have to take CCP political classes from elementary schools to colleges,” Liu said. “International schools were spared all that. The children won’t be instilled in the CCP political ideology when they go abroad. This is one of the reasons why we chose to emigrate to the U.S.”
She added that in China, all the information is filtered by the regime, and she hopes that her children will have more choices in academics and in life.
Regarding many Chinese “little pinkies” (young pro-CCP Chinese) having emerged in recent years, publicizing CCP policies on the internet loudly, criticizing U.S. society, and defending the CCP regime in an aggressive “wolf warrior” style, Mrs. Liu believes it’s the product of CCP’s brainwashing education.
“The CCP has educated a stupid next generation. That’s why there are so many ‘little pinkies’ who lack the ability to think independently,” she said.
Chun said that after leaving the country, many Chinese students studying abroad still only use Chinese social media WeChat and Weibo for information. However, that information is filtered by the CCP and infused with its ideology. These Chinese “little pinkies” are created by the CCP’s distorted system and by their parents’ fear of the regime.
Xu Xiuhui contributed to the report.