China’s economics students are being “brainwashed by Western theories” and need to read more Karl Marx, Chinese professors said in a letter to the Chinese Ministry of Education, amid a widening crackdown on foreign ideas.
As the world’s No. 2 economy faces a slowdown and struggles to adopt much-needed reforms, economics students at Chinese universities should study a curriculum composed of at least half Marxist courses, otherwise they will become the “grave diggers of the socialist economic system,” the petition said.
It is the latest effort by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to push its ideology in classrooms as Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), who has overseen tightened media censorship and a crackdown on dissent, has called for the party to increase control over universities.
“It is in essence an ideological class struggle wherein the bourgeois class clashes with the proletariat class in education,” the letter’s co-author told the state-run Global Times yesterday, adding that the letter had dozens of academics supporting it. “How can a socialist university be allowed to educate such people who will become the grave diggers of the socialist economic system?”
The petition did not address whether Marx, a German-born political theorist, revolutionary and philosopher who spent much of his life in England, should be considered “Western.”
Schools have become an ideological battleground for the ruling party, with the country’s education minister saying last year that textbooks promoting so-called “Western values” should be banned.
Internet users have fiercely debated new revisions to China’s primary and secondary school textbooks that state media criticized for paying too little attention to the CCP’s revolutionary heritage and patriotic content.
Replaced textbook contents included a passage inviting readers to imagine the experience of being an ICBM and the tale of man punishing a “rich hooligan” by beating him to death, the Global Times reported.
Although officially socialist in name, China has since the late 1970s embraced capitalism and experienced surging growth as the role of the state diminished and market forces fueled a transformation of the economy.
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