Xi's Statements on Education
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The rejuvenation of culture and development of national comprehensive power has a strong educational component in Xi’s China. Chinese young elites must be trained to support national goals as a matter of ideology and to advance them as a matter of professional practice. Chinese universities, therefore, like China’s media, cultural classes, and think tanks, must support the CCP and development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Universities are tasked with serving the state wholeheartedly even as they train “innovative” students who will make China a leader in the global knowledge economy.
EDUCATION REFORM [教育体制改革]
“China’s educational institutions must have Chinese characteristics, a global vision, and modern features.”
“We need Chinese characteristics in order to develop world-class Chinese universities. The world will not have a second Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, MIT or Cambridge. But it does have a Peking University, Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, Fudan University, Nanjing University, and other well-known Chinese institutions…With these educational institutions, our talent will flourish and our country will be a strong competitor.”
“We need to creatively transform foreign countries’ education experiences into our own innovative development.”
Despite China’s sincere interest in incorporating foreign research and academic models, and despite its tremendous success, to date, in doing so, the Xi government has called for caution in using foreign materials. Former Minister of Education Yuan Guiren took the lead in spreading this message in 2015.
“We need to strengthen management of the use of Western-published textbooks. We cannot allow textbooks that disseminate Western values and concepts to enter our classrooms; nor can we allow any attacks or defamation of the Party’s leaders and their words that discredit socialism in college classrooms; we cannot allow any statements that violate the Constitution and laws; we cannot allow teachers to complain in classrooms and pass bad sentiments on to students.”
"The Central Party made the strategic decision to accelerate the establishment of top universities and academic disciplines in order to enhance China’s higher education and to improve the core competitiveness of our country.
China has a unique history, culture, and national condition, which makes it necessary to develop our own higher education development path and establish universities with Chinese socialist characteristics. The development path of higher education should coincide with our national goals and serve the people and the governance of the Chinese Communist Party. They should strengthen and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and further China’s socialist modernization and opening and reform.
The Party leads our universities. They are universities with Chinese socialist characteristics.
University teachers should themselves be educated first. They should work hard to become promulgators of advanced thought and culture and firm supporters of Party governance and better fulfill the responsibility of guiding students’ healthy growth along the right path.
We need to adhere to the leadership of the CCP and make universities grounds for Party leadership in order to improve higher education."
[Note: At the time of this speech, Liu was a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the CCP, with responsibilities over propaganda and ideological work]
"We must provide good ideological theory classes, use the educational potential of philosophy and the social sciences, enhance construction and management of every department in our universities, and improve the makeup of faculty teams and ideological political work groups.
Party committees in universities should rule Party members well and take on the major responsibility of running and leading the schools. They should adhere to and improve the Principal Responsibility System."
FOSTERING TALENT [人才发展体制机制改革]
“The competition for comprehensive national strength is essentially a competition for talent.”
“We need to accelerate development of a globally competitive talent system, bring together the best available talent, and put it to use.”
PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIAL SCIENCES [哲学社会科学座谈会]
The social sciences form the key link between Xi Jinping’s desired ideology and the political and economic outcomes he hopes to achieve through reform. He has therefore provided explicit political and professional guidance to Chinese social scientists and philosophers. According to a Xinhua report on Xi’s speech, Xi Jinping highlights the irreplaceable roles of philosophy and social science in building socialism with Chinese characteristics, strengthening Chinese cultural soft power, and increasing China’s international discursive power. China's performance in philosophy and social science does not match its progress in economic reform and opening, Xi says. According to Xi, philosophy and social sciences, including history, economics, politics, culture, society, and ecology, should all demonstrate Chinese characteristics. Marxism, he urged, must remain the guiding theory for philosophy and social science in China.
"In order to construct philosophy and social science curriculums with Chinese characteristics, we need to embody our inheritance and our uniqueness as a people. We need to reconcile our resources of Marxism, Chinese traditional culture, foreign philosophy, and social science. We need to remember our origins, embody the best outside influences, and face our future. We need to have firm confidence in the Chinese socialist path, its theory, system and culture. In the end, we need to be confident in culture. Cultural confidence is a fundamental, deep and long-lasting energy source."
THINK TANKS [中国智库发展报告]
In early 2015, a national directive from the central government called for the funding and development of think tanks throughout China, charging them with providing innovative policy analyses to all levels of governments, and building China’s international soft power and discursive power. Since the promulgation of the document, think tanks of various sorts have proliferated rapidly and Chinese government and “unofficial” think tanks have begun to expand overseas.
An important mission of high-level think tanks is to consult the government to inspire the people domestically, and to spread “China’s voice” externally.
Think Tank Construction Since the 18th National Congress:
May 2015: The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences launched eleven new think tanks.
July 2015: The People’s Liberation Army launched the China National Center for Security Studies (China’s first national security and strategy think tank), at China’s National Defense University.
November 2015: The Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform passed The Pilot Initiative for Developing National High-Level Think Tanks.
Confucius Institutes 孔子学院
Beginning in 2004, China began establishing Confucius Institutes (CIs) worldwide as “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda setup,” according to Li Changchun, China’s leading propaganda official at the time and Chairman of the Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization. Modeled after British Council and Goethe Institutes, CIs focus on Chinese language courses and public programs on Chinese culture. China plans to open 1,000 CIs by 2020, despite their controversial status in many countries.
Xi Jinping: Confucius Institutes belong to China, and also belong to the world.
Li Keqiang: Let us promote the Chinese concepts of “precious harmony” (和为贵) and “harmony in diversity” (和而不同), facilitate civilizational diversity, and contribute to peace around the globe.
Xi Jinping is passionate about Sinology. His speeches are larded with quotes from Chinese classics and his citations of ancient wisdom are collected and studied in China. A reference book Xi Jinping Quotes the Classics《习近平用典》 was published in March 2015. More than 1 million volumes sold within a year. The book includes the 135 classic stories most frequently quoted by Xi, and includes his thoughts on governance.
Xi famously visited the Temple of Confucius in Shandong Province on November 26, 2013, an event that was the lead item on the day’s news. He has also visited Professor Tang Yijie of Peking University, a Chinese philosopher and a renowned Sinologist. Professor Tang leads the Ruzang (Confucian Canon) project, which is an ongoing initiative to compile all known classical works on Confucianism.
While visiting Beijing Normal University on September 9, 2014, Xi said: “I really don’t want to add Western content to textbooks at the expense of [Chinese] classical poems and essays. I think [the idea of] “abandoning China” is very pathetic. We should put these classics into students’ heads, and cultivate China’s cultural genes.”
“我很不希望把古代经典的诗词和散文从课本中去掉，加入一堆什么西方的东西，我觉得‘去中国化’是很悲哀的。应该把这些经典嵌在学生的脑子里，成为中华民族的文化基因。”For more information, please contact the Kissinger Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org.