Marching Orders

The Blog of

Ideological Class A Mainstay in Chinese Universities


Turning schools into ideological battlefields

In December 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping, also the communist party boss, presided over a landmark national conference on “ideological and political work” specifically aimed at the country's institutions of higher education. In the conference, President Xi made clear on the need to strengthen the Party’s ideological sway on college campuses and gave clear instructions on how to implement the thought work. The high-profile conference set the stage for ideological campaigns that launched across universities, ushering in an era of tight control over thought. To counter the deluge of liberal views and “hostile” western ideas that run amok in the sphere of academics, Xi made the remark that “higher education must adhere to correct political orientation,” and that schools “must be guided by Marxism, and the Party’s policies in education must be fully carried out.” To ensure that the Party always has an iron grip over education, Mr. Xi emphasized the importance of the “leadership of college Party committees,” calling on these grass-roots Party organs to “prioritize the ideological and political work in colleges and strengthen their leadership in the field.” Chinese universities, in the Party’s view, are not only places for academic and learning activities, but “strongholds that adhere to Party leadership.”

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The “China Menace”


A growing thorn

During United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Senate Hearing in late July, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) prefaced his question on the China threat by saying that in his view “the single biggest national security threat in the long-term of the United States is China... for the first time since the end of the cold war, we are in competition with a near to your [sic] adversary and it’s not just military, it’s economic, it’s technological, it’s geopolitical and the like.” The Senate Republican, who was also a candidate in the 2016 Republican Party presidential primary, cited China’s militarization of the the disputed islands and Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE’s violation of US sanction as evidence to hammer home his point that China, with its growing economic clout and geopolitical ambition, is making “sustained... incremental, but more assertive demands each time” to create new regional order and challenge the primacy of the United States.

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China Kicks Off A Fresh Round of Patriotic Campaign


The Central Propaganda Department, in conjunction with the Organization Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, is spearheading a national campaign to promote patriotism and call for the country’s intelligentsia and academics to strive for new success in the new era. The campaign circular first appeared online and later in the print edition of People’s Daily on August 1st, which coincides with the founding anniversary of People’s Liberation Army.

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