CCP Amplifies Political Indoctrination in Universities, Displeasing Students

By Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li
September 8, 2021 Updated: September 14, 2021

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) inspectors have told 31 of China’s top universities to step up ideological training and political indoctrination among staff and students.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the CCP’s top anti-corruption agency, made the demands for change after a two-month inspection of the universities’ party branches. “Suggestions for rectification” were published in dozens of statements on the agency’s official website on Sept. 5.

The CCDI chastised some universities for “weak political and ideological education,” noting they had failed to follow the CCP’s education policies.

Criticism against the universities came after China’s education regulator mandated in August teaching a new political course on party leader Xi Jinping’s thoughts.

China has instituted five political theory classes in college so far, teaching both communism and thoughts of party leaders like Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping. These courses are compulsory for all majors.

The CCP watchdog has required universities to study Xi’s theory in-depth and ramp up political education.

It demanded that party cadres “understand and follow” Xi’s theories and the CCP’s orders, take a leadership role in college governance, and tighten the Party control over colleges, according to the CCDI website.

All universities have party cadres working as liaisons between the school and the CCP.

The regulator added that the rectification results will play a crucial role in evaluating the work of party cadres. The agency threatened that it will hold party officials accountable if they fail to implement the new measures.

CCP mouthpiece the People’s Daily said the regulator had been investigating the Ministry of Education and the 31 colleges since May. The CCDI sent 15 special working teams to the top universities, including Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Fudan University.

Epoch Times Photo
A patron walks past a display of books about Chinese leader Xi Jinping, in the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, on June 25, 2021, (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)

Student Complaints

A recent graduate from Peking University told The Epoch Times on Aug. 25 that students have complained about heavy political courses.

“At the beginning, the course, ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era,’ was an elective course in some colleges,” the graduate surnamed Wu said. “But the class was almost canceled in many colleges, such as Peking University, due to low enrollment.”

“It shows the young generation doesn’t have strong admiration for Xi and lacks interest in his ideology,” Wu said.

However, with recent changes, the course has become compulsory in universities since the beginning of the fall semester.

The Ministry of Education said the course aims to strengthen the “resolve to listen to and follow the Party.”

Wu added that examinations in those political courses changed to closed-book tests. The heavy workload has only led to students’ further dissatisfaction, he noted.

Feng Chongyi, a professor on China Studies at the University of Technology Sydney, suggested the indoctrination of Xi’s thoughts won’t be effective in the internet age. He said, “Mockery [of Xi] is all over the internet.”

Luo Ya contributed to this report.

Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li