Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Chronicle of China's Campaign to Rectify Political Ideology at Universities: 2014 - 2015

June 16, 2014, Seeking Truth published an article by Wang Weiguang (王伟光) the Dean and Party Secretary of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences entitled "Strive to Modernize the State's Governance Systems and Capabilities" (努力推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化). Some excerpts: 
Certain countries in the West advertise their own values as "universal values," and claim that their interpretations of freedom, democracy, and human rights are the standard by which all others must be measured. They spare no expense when it comes to hawking their goods and peddling their wares to every corner of the planet, and stir up "color revolutions" both before and behind the curtain. Their goal is to infiltrate, break down, and overthrow other regimes. At home and abroad certain enemy forces make use of the term "universal values" to smear the Chinese Communist Party, socialism with Chinese characteristics, and China's mainstream ideology. They scheme to use Western value systems to change China, with the goal of letting Chinese people renounce the Chinese Communist Party's leadership and socialism with Chinese characteristics, and allow China to once again become a colony of some developed capitalist country.
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We must earnestly study the outstanding cultural results achieved by peoples of all nations throughout the world, and ceaselessly strengthen China's cultural soft power in order to allow our culture to become a strong ideological weapon that will be able to withstand infiltration by Western value systems. 
Modernizing China's governance systems and capabilities is an enormous exercise in systems engineering, and to a certain degree one would be correct to characterize it as a State administration revolution. It implicates areas such as economics, law, culture, society, our civilization's ecology and Party building, and it requires the common efforts of the entire Party and the entire society. Those who travel in liberal arts circles must undertake comprehensive study of, and gain a deep understanding of, the spirit of the Decision of the 18th Session of the 3rd Plenum and General Secretary Xi Jinping's important discussions thereof. 
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推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化,是一项极为宏大的系统工程,在一定意义上可以说是一场国家治理领域的革命。它涉及经济、政治、文化、社会、生态文明和党的建设等各领域,需要全党全社会的共同努力。哲学社会科学界要认真学习、深刻领会党的十八届三中全会决定和习近平总书记重要论述精神 . . . .

July 10, 2014, the People's Daily published an article entitled "A Call for Scholarly Work in Marxism in the Service of the People" (高扬马克思主义为人民做学问). According to that article: 
In universities and colleges it is not especially unusual to establish an institute. But on February 27, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences established the "Marxism Institute," which has drawn the attention of the nation's universities and colleges, especially those in the liberal arts. The reason is that the birth of this institute is somewhat special:
  • Senior Level: the opening speech was given by Li Qibao, who is a member of the Politburo, Secretariat of the Central Committee, and Director of the Central Propaganda Department. Furthermore, the institute's director is Wang Weiguang, the Dean of CASS.
  • Fast Speed: there was only six months form the time central authorities approved recruiting student to its establishment.
  • Large Scale: Each year it will accepts 100 candidates for doctorates in Marxist theory, targeted instruction, and a three year program. 
  • Strong Criteria: Instructors include educational luminaries such as Yang Chungui, Jin Zhongji, Leng Rong, Ru Xin, Wei Xinghua, Zhou Xincheng, and Geng Bisi.
CASS Dean and Party Secretary Wang Weiguang said: "The establishment of the Marxist Theory Institute is the fruit of the 'Marxist Theory Backbone Talent Program' that CASS launched in April 2013 in order to take practical steps to meet the demand for strengthing training of Marxist specialists issued by central authorities.
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From December 2013 through June of this year, courses have been held to train people to understand and carry out the spirit of a series of important speech by General Secretary Xi Jinping. Over 220 cadres from all the departments and levels of CASS, as well over 1,000 classroom cadres and scientific research mainstays have received training. This is the first time in the history of CASS that it has undertaken Academy-wide training of such enormous scope and over such a long period of time.  
Vice Dean and Organization Department Deputy Secretary Zhao Shengxuan said: "Sitting as we do at the pinnacle of China's liberal arts, CASS has always placed enormous emphasis on ideological work, and made political discipline the first and foremost criteria in assessing its members. We always employed a strict "one vote and you're out" political responsibility assessment system for day-to-day administrative tasks such as determining course offerings, making hiring decisions, selecting cadres for promotion, judging accomplishments, and granting financial aide.
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In recent years, under the leadership of the Academy's Party Organization Committee, CASS fellows have analyzed and refuted such mistaken ideological trends as Western "constitutional democracy," "universal values," "civil society," as well as neoliberalism and nihilism by utilizing their superior position as experts, their academic and social influence, their articles, books, lectures, and media interviews, as well as by launching Weibos, blogs, and online videos. 
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July 20, 2014, China’s state run news service Xinhua reported that the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee had issued a document entitled “Notice Regarding Strengthening Cadre Education and Training in Ideals, Beliefs and Ethical Conduct” (关于在干部教育培训中加强理想信念和道德品行教育的通知). According to Xinhua, the Notice stated:
It is particularly necessary to undertake in-depth study and understanding of the spirit of the series of important speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping, and enable cadres to gain a genuine understanding of the Marxist positions, points-of-view, and methodologies that run through those speeches. We must remain steadfast in our faith in Marxism, never lose our bearings when discussion becomes heated about Western constitutional democracy, “universal values”, and “civil society,” and avoid losing our sense of self under the influence of feudal superstitions and religion. In order to assist cadres in understanding the origin and development of Party and State, launch in-depth study of Party history, China's history, and the history of the development of socialism and world history. Gain an in-depth appreciation for the rules of Communist Party governance, the rules of Socialist construction, and the rules of human societal development. Remain steadfast in the conviction that it is inevitable that Communism will ultimately be victorious.  
July 21, 2014, the Global times published an article entitled “Party Re-Emphasizes Ideology Education.” Some excerpts:
The circular comes together with the intensification of a new round of ideology work.  
Earlier this month, officials at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the country's top State-run think tank, said that ideology and political discipline are its primary criteria for evaluating officials and research fellows after receiving warnings from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Party's central disciplinary watchdog. 
July 29, 2014, Wang Weiguang gave a speech which was subsequently published under the title "Wang Weiguang's Speech at CASS's 2014 'Three Discipline Projects' Working Meeting" (王伟光在中国社科院2014年“三项纪律”建设专题工作会议上的讲话). Some excerpts: 
CASS is not some loose alliance of "freelance writers," but rather is an important battle front for ideological propaganda led by the Party, an important mechanism for academic theory, and an important battlefield for ideology.
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CASS is not some loose alliance of "freelance writers" who can come and go as they please, say whatever is on their minds, write whatever they want to write. It is apolitical, unorganized, or undisciplined. 
A so-called "freelance writer" is not some "liberated literati" or "cultural entrepreneur" who is entirely free from leadership by a political party, unrestricted by group discipline, or unrestrained by ethical norms. In real life there is no such thing as a so-called "freelance writer" who is entirely without a political position or an ideological disposition. In the old China, which was subjected to reactionary rule, there were advanced intellectuals who were identified or self-identified as "freelance writers," but in fact they were pursuing ambitious ideals, soldiers in the struggle for the people's enterprise. Lu Xun is an outstanding representative of this group. Under the conditions of Party-led socialism with Chinese characteristics, anyone who would think to become a completely unrestricted "freelance writer" and attempt to cast off the leadership of the Party, veer from the larger political direction, and cease to do scholarship in service of the people, no matter how they try to make it seem praise-worthy, really are they are doing is consciously or unconsciously either pursuing personal aggrandizement or being used as the tool of some third party to achieve some political purpose. Certain extremists have even embarked on a path that is anti-Party and anti-socialism. Under no circumstances will CASS engage in any theoretical academic research for the sake of one person's fame or some other political goal. Rather, our scholarship serves the Party, the people, the development of China, and the vitality of its people. CASS members are not merely common academics, but rather are cultural workers for the Party's ideological theories and, beyond that, soldiers on the Party's ideological and cultural front lines. We absolutely would not stoop to the level of a "freelance writer," and act like some those public Big Vs and Internet intellectuals and engage in self-promotion, speak on our own behalf, or do whatever amuses us. Every comrade at CASS must be clear on this: the Party and the State have no need for this kind of scholar. All of CASS's research must be in the service of the needs of the Party and the people,  in the service of policy-making of the Communist Party Central Committee, in the service of the glory of the development of liberal arts with Chinese characteristics, and in the service of the enterprise of socialism with Chinese characteristics. And when it comes to problematic speech, we must dare to speak out to repudiate it and launch struggles against it in order to provide physical and intellectual support to the promotion of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the early realization of the Chinese dream of the grand resurgence of the Chinese people. 
At the same time, we should insist upon the policy of "let 100 flowers bloom, let 100 schools of though contend" in order to provide CASS members with sufficient creative space and academic freedom. Of course, academic freedom must be measured by the yardstick of correct political orientation, and subject to the restrictions of Party discipline, national laws, and ethical norms. Only in this way can we ensure that scholarly research will not veer off course.

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同时,还应坚决贯彻“百花齐放、百家争鸣”方针,为科研人员提供充分的创造空间和学术自由。. . . . 当然,学术自由必须以正确的政治方向为准绳,以党纪国法和道德规范为约束,只有这样才能保障学术研究不走偏。
August 31, 2014, Seeking Truth published a series of articles authored by the Party committees of Peking University, Fudan University, and Sun Yat-sen University under the heading "How to Correctly Perform Ideological Work at Universities Given New Historical Conditions" (新的历史条件下如何做好高校意识形态工作).

The title of the Beijing University contribution was "Make Good Use of New Media, Forge New Platforms" (善用新媒体 打造新平台). Some excerpts:
Under the circumstances of this new era, new media is riding the wave of the world wide web and the mobile Internet to increasingly become the primary repository of thought, information, and social commentary.  Attention is increasing focused on how social media, such as Weibo and Weixin, is causing a profound transformation in the inherent mechanisms and fundamental forms of the formation and development of public opinion. A image is appearing before us of a society where "everyone is a news wire" and "everyone is a microphone."
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Do everything feasible to increase the ability to guide and address online public opinion and to oversee and control this virtual society. In recent years Beijing University has established a system for round-the-clock intelligence gathering and reporting of public sentiment that is able to analyze an react in real time. It has allowed us to take the initiative and become a first-responder to take measures as early as possible to ensure that we can exercise effective control and reduce any harmful influence that negative speech might bring.
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In recent years, people with ulterior motives have been adding fuel to the online flames. They have made connections between issues relating to academia and various public interests and the Party's principles and policies. Ultimately they point their spears in the direction of the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system, thereby creating an influence on online public opinion and social consensus that has been extremely negative. . . . As regards political issues, we must remain steadfast and clearly show our colors. When it comes to the principles and the bottom lines of the Party and State, we must in word and deed carry out the fight in a timely, effective, and determined manner. 
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近年来,一些别有用心的人在网络上推波助澜,把学术问题和群众的个别利益问题与党的路线、方针、政策相联系,最终把矛头指向中国共产党和社会主义制度,对网络舆论和社会思想共识造成了很大的负面影响。. . . . 对政治问题,要立场坚定,旗帜鲜明,对触及党和国家的原则、底线的言行,要及时、有效、坚决地进行斗争。
The contribution from Fudan University was entitled "Look Forward to Ranks of Young Teachers Maturing In a Healthy Way" (引领中青年教师队伍健康成长). Some excerpts:
University Party Committees must shoulder the primary responsibility to unite the broad masses of young teachers within boundaries established by the Party, and guide them toward increased conformity of the ideology, politics, and sentiment of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Further firmer self-confidence in the path, the theory, and the system. Securely establish socialist core values, and forever be of one heart, one mind, and one direction with the Party and the State.
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Increase ideological theory eduction for young teachers, and allow them to grasp the Marxist stance, viewpoint, and methodology. Increase instruction in Party and Chinese history and allow them to gain a deep appreciation for why the Western development path does not suit China. 
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October 15, 2014: Xi Jinping gave a speech. The speech would not be published for a year, when it appeared under the title “Speech at the Symposium on the Arts” (在文艺工作座谈会上的讲话). According to a Global Times report published on October 15, 2015 Xi spoke to “authors, actors, script writers and dancers at a symposium in Beijing.”  The following are some excerpts from Xi’s speech as it was published on the website of the Party School of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee:
In certain works we see the lofty being mocked, the classics being distorted, the historical being subverted, and the masses and heroes being vilified. Some confuse right and wrong, conflate good and evil, proclaim that which is profane is beautiful, and exaggerate the dark side of society.
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Since reform and opening up began our nation's economy has developed quickly, and people's standard of living has improved quickly. At the same time, our nation is in the midst of an ideological great leap forward, a time of concepts clashing and cultures colliding, when many problems are emerging. One of the most outstanding of these problems has been a deficiency in the value systems of certain people, with no concept of good and evil, no bottom lines when it comes to behavior, daring to do anything that violates Party discipline and State laws, engage in any kind of immoral shady business, lacking any concept of the nation, the collective, or the family, any sense of truth or falsity, any idea of beauty or ugliness, any distinction of good or bad, simple-minded and self-indulgent. The root cause of all the kinds of problems arising in today's society may be found here. If these problems are not dealt with effectively, it will be difficult to proceed smoothly with the modernization of reform and opening up and of socialism.
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Therefore, we shall promote and practice socialism's core value systems throughout the greater society, making it as ubiquitous as the air, a universal constant, becoming the common values pursued by all people, the distinctive spiritual pillar that is the birthright of the Chinese people, and the unconscious standard of behavior for the common people.
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The masses of artists shall raise high the flag of socialism's core values and fully appreciate the responsibility they shoulder, bringing the life and vitality of socialism's core values to their works of art, employing lifelike art forms to tell people what should be regarded as positive and praiseworthy and what must be rejected and denied.
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Patriotism is the most profound, most fundamental, and most eternal of socialism's core values.
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Our modern art shall make patriotism as the main theme of its works, guiding people to establish and insist upon correct values with respect to history, ethnicity, national, and culture, and strengthen the fortitude and confidence of the Chinese people.

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Mid-October, 2014: Universities in China began publishing reports on their websites that they had been convening meetings to discuss the implementation of the document issued by the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council entitled “Opinion Regarding Further Strengthening and Improving Propaganda and Ideology Work in Higher Education Given New Circumstances” (关于进一步加强和改进新形势下高校宣传思想工作的意见).

For example, according to the report posted on the website of the Sun Yatsen University Press, a meeting was held on October 15 that was attended by Li Weihong (李卫红), deputy director of the Ministry of Education, who said that university publishing houses must: “never waiver from the Party’s educational policies.” (始终坚持党的教育方针).

Late October: Universities in China began publishing reports on their websites that on October 18 and 19 the Ministry of Education had convened a meeting in Beijing of Communist Party Secretaries from China’s institutions of higher learning. The purpose of the meeting was to “engage in in-depth study of the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speeches” (深入学习贯彻习近平总书记系列重要讲话精神).

Following the meeting, Li Jianping (刘建平), Party Secretary of Tianjin University, told officials at that school:
Be unremitting in your work to preserve security and stability on campus, strengthen oversight of the Internet and publications, establish your position online and strive to raise the level of online guidance and administration on campus. Resist religious infiltration.
At a similar meeting held at Hohai University, school officials were told:
Strengthen administration over the online battlefield, strengthen both hardware and software in accordance with the requirements of informatization, create more school websites devoted to ideological and political education, build up contingents of "Red Hackers," launch Weibo and Weixin accounts for instructors, advisors, and ideology course professors, insist that famous professors and outstanding instructors go online and participate on the bases of our core value system, and when online carry forward the main theme and spread positive energy.
It is not known when the Opinion was actually published, and indeed as of this writing the actual text of the Opinion is not publicly available. The only thing that has been published is an article by Xinhua on January 19, 2015 that describes the Opinion. Some excerpts:
The Opinion points out that it is necessary to strive to strengthen administration over the propaganda and ideological battlefields in our universities. It stresses the need to strengthen the management of network security on campus, and step up the establishment of website alliances on university campuses and information management systems on university networks. We must strengthen discipline in classroom instruction in universities, formulate methods to strengthen classroom management, and institute effective systems to manage classroom instruction. We must improve our systems for managing the propaganda and ideological battlefield, strengthen the administration over publicizing achievements in the liberal arts at universities, establish supervision and inspection systems for publishing quality at universities, formulate systems for the establishment and annual inspection of student associations, strengthen our  administration over teaching and research institutes that specialize in religious studies, and strengthen anti-cult propaganda and education on campus. 
Finally, the “Opinion” stresses that it is necessary to take practical measures to strengthen they Party's leadership over propaganda and ideology at universities. We must establish the best possible mechanisms to execute propaganda and ideology tasks at universities, university Party Committees must consolidate their political and leadership responsibilities, Party Committee Secretaries and university leadership must take up the banners and stand at the front lines of ideological work. Take full advantage of Party Committee Secretaries' core leadership position at universities, and implement and perfect systems whereby university leadership is held accountable under the leadership of the Party Committees. Establish comprehensive mechanisms to ensure unified leadership by university Party Committees in which the Party, government, and Youth League jointly grasp oversight, the Party Committee propaganda bureaus take the lead in coordination, and relevant departments and colleges jointly participate. Take full advantage of the ability of Party organizations to ensure oversight in colleges, strengthen the role of Youth Leagues at universities, and speed up the formulation and ratification of rules at universities.  
November 13, 2014, the state sponsored Liaoning Daily published an editorial entitled “Teacher, Please Don’t Speak About China in That Way - An Open Letter to Liberal Arts Professors at Institutes of Higher Learning” (老师,请不要这样讲中国——致高校哲学社会科学老师的一封公开信). According to that article, in one survey over 80% of students said they had experience with teachers who were “fond of complaining” and whose characterizations of the nation and society “were difficult to tolerate.” This was particularly the case with liberal arts teachers, especially in the fields of law, administration, and sociology.

According to the article’s authors, they spent a half month auditing over 100 classes at over 20 schools in 5 cities, and based on their observations identified the following problems:
  • A lack of ideological identification, such as when teachers "make inappropriate comparisons of Mao Zedong and ancient emperors" and "disdain to consider the Communist Party's innovative theories" (将毛泽东与古代帝王进行不恰当比较 . . . 对党的创新理论不屑一顾). 
  • A lack of political identification, such as when teachers "promote Western 'separation of powers,'" "believe that China should follow a Western path," and "publicly express doubts regarding major policies issued by central authorities" (追捧西方“三权分立”,认为中国应该走西方道路;公开质疑中央出台的重大政策). 
  • A lack of emotional identification, such as when teachers "claim that 'I did not join the Communist Party' is a demonstration of character, a demonstration of 'having integrity'" (把“我就是不入党”视为个性,显示自己“有骨气”).
These three problems tracked almost exactly the concerns identified by the Fudan University Party Committee in its September Seeking Truth editorial (see above).

November 19, 2014, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “Teachers Need Political, Ethical Bottom Line” (评辽报批“呲必中国”引激烈争论). Some excerpts:
Is there really widespread China-defamation in college classes? The answer is yes. This is not an individual case, and now the problems have accumulated to the extent that they should be dealt with.   
Then should we rectify the phenomenon? It is believed that everyone has the right to criticize their country, including college teachers. But at the same time, the opinions of teachers should have political and ethical bottom lines. In all countries, the restrictions on teachers' speech are higher than for the average societal level. If teachers in Western countries advocate values that confront those of mainstream society, it will cause them serious difficulties.
December 29, 2014, Xinhua published an article entitled "Xi Jinping: Never Waiver in Our Ideological Leadership in Molding the Morality of the Young, Strengthen and Improve Party Building at Institutions of Higher Learning" (习近平:坚持立德树人思想引领 加强改进高校党建工作).  According to the article, on December 28 and 29 the 23rd National Working Meeting on Party Building at Institutes of Higher Learning convened in Beijing. During the meeting Xi Jinping told attendees: “Party Committees and those agencies responsible for ideological propaganda, organization, and education must strengthen their leadership and guidance of Party building activities at universities.  (各级党委和宣传思想部门、组织部门、教育部门要加强对高校党的建设工作的领导和指导)

January 29, 2015, Xinhua published a report entitled "Yuan Guiren: University Instructors Must Comply with the Three Bottom Lines of Politics, Law, and Ethics." (袁贵仁:高校教师必须守好政治、法律、道德三条底线) Some excerpts:
On January 29, at a meeting to study the spirit of the “Opinion Regarding Further Strengthening and Improving Propaganda and Ideology Work in Higher Education Given New Circumstances," Minister of Education Yuan Guiren stated that university instructors must comply with the bottom lines of politics, law, and ethics.
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Yuan Guiren pointed out that in order to implement the "Opinion" in a practical manner, it is necessary to strengthen controls over the ideological battlefield at institutions of higher learning, and in particular to strengthen controls over the creation of teaching materials and in-class instruction. Strengthen controls over how Western-derived teaching materials are used, and under no circumstances allow into our classrooms any teaching materials that spread Western value systems. Under no circumstances permit any discussion that attacks or defames the Party's leaders or smears socialism to take place in college classrooms. Under no circumstances permit any discussion that violates the Constitution or laws to spread in college classrooms. Under no circumstances permit instructors to grouse and complain in the classroom, or inculcate a bad mood amongst the student body.
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At the same time, take the initiative in keeping a hold over online discussion, and do a good job of building and managing campus Internets. . . . Take as your first and foremost criteria mastery of that which is political and assemble cohorts of ideology propagandists at institutions of higher learning.
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January 31, 2015, a text began appearing on the Internet under the title "Beijing University Professor Shen Kui's Three Questions to Minister of Education Yuan Guiren: The 4th Plenum of the 18th Party Congress Called for Governing the Country in Accordance with the Constitution and the Law, and Your  January 29 Speech has Left People Confused Beyond Comprehension." (北大教授沈岿三问袁贵仁部长:中国共产党十八届四中全会大力倡导依宪治国、依法治国之际,您在1月29日的讲话却令人大惑不解。)

Here is the text of the questions:
First, how to differentiate "Western values" from "Chinese values"? As everyone knows, it was only after it crossed the seas that the specter of Communism, which haunted Europe over the preceding two centuries, could give birth to the Chinese Communist Party. Our current Constitution stipulates we must adhere to Marxism, that we must carry forward the teachings of Internationalism, Communism, dialectical materialism, and historical materialism, and all these originated in the West and have influenced China. There are countless examples where the East has learned from the West. Respectfully  Minister Yuan, may I request that you clearly delineate the line between "Western values" and "Chinese values?" 
Second, how to differentiate between "attacking or defaming the Party's leaders or smearing socialism" and "reflecting on the crooked road that the Party has taken, and bringing to light dark realities?" There is no governing political party that would dare to claim that it has never committed and will never commit mistakes. There is no society, regardless of whether it goes by the name "socialist" or "capitalist," that would dare to claim that it is a society without any dark side whatsoever. Respectfully Minister Yuan, may I request that you provide clear criteria for differentiating between "attacking" and "reflecting," "smearing" and "enlightening?" 
Third, how will the Ministry of Education that you lead carry out the principles of ruling the country in accordance with the Constitution and laws? If you yourself already have clear and easily understood answers to the two preceding questions, then I would ask that you make another speech at the appropriate time. If you yourself cannot answer those questions without equivocation, then I would ask that in the future you exercise discretion, because the Ministry of Education that you lead has implications for "the scientific and cultural level of the entire country" (Constitution Article 19), for "natural and social science undertakings," (Constitution Article 20), and for citizens' exercise of their "freedom to conduct scientific research, engage in literary and artistic endeavors, and other cultural activities."  (Constitution Article 47) When all is said and done, it implicates the rejuvenation of the Chinese people. If you are capricious in expounding on what can and cannot be done, if there is even the slightest lack of caution, there exists the possibility that the Constitution and laws may be violated. 
January 31, 2015, Seeking Truth published an article authored by Yuan Guiren entitled "Grab The High Ground and See the Big Picture, Take Up Propaganda Work at Universities On the Basis of the New Circumstances" (把握大势 着眼大事 努力做好新形势下高校宣传思想工作). Some excerpts:
Face up to outstanding problems, strengthen construction of, and control over, battlefield positions. Institutions of higher learning are the front lines on the battlefield of the ideological work, and young teachers and students are an important means for enemy forces to infiltrate and divide us. In recent years, certain countries have come to view China's development and expansion as challenge to their own models and value systems, and have intensified their efforts to infiltrate and divide us. They have adopted increasingly covert and diversified means, which has made it increasingly difficult to control the ideological battlefield at colleges and universities. . . . While we must absorb the positive achievements of human civilization, at the same time we must guard against the ideological hazards associated with running a school that is open to the outside world, and strive to take the initiative and maintain superiority in the struggle. . . . Prevent those teaching materials which would spread incorrect Western viewpoints from entering our universities, forge teaching material systems guided by Marxism, and provide solid support to firm up mainstream ideology.
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Use a combination of legal and technological means to increase control over the Internet, firm up mainstream public opinion on ideology, and transform the Internet from being the "greatest unknown variable" into our greatest opportunity. 
面突出问题,加强阵地建设与管理。高校是意识形态工作的前沿阵地,青年师生是敌对势力对我进行渗透分化的重点人群。近年来,一些国家把中国的发展壮大看作是对其制度模式和价值观的挑战,加紧对我渗透分化,方法手段更加隐蔽多样,高校宣传思想阵地管理的难度进一步加大。. . . . 要在借鉴吸收一切人类文明成果的同时,防范对外开放条件下办学面临的各种意识形态风险,努力在斗争中把握主动,赢得优势。. . . . 坚决抵制那些传播西方错误观点的教材进入我们的大学,打造以马克思主义为指导的教材体系,为壮大主流意识形态提供坚实支撑。
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February 1, 2015, the website of the Communist Youth League published an article by one of its commentators entitled "Shen Kui Knew the Answers to His Three Questions Before He Asked Them" (“沈岿三问”是明知故问). Some excerpts:
In recent days, Minister of Education Yuan Guiren has become a hot topic on private media. The reason is that an article entitled "Beijing University Professor Shen Kui's Three Questions to Minister Yuan" has been spreading far and wide, and quite a few people have joined in the troublemaking. After reading the essay we can put aside for the moment who asked and who was being asked, and just look at these three questions, which are entirely an exercise in empty rhetoric.
If you know the answers, why would you ask the questions? The simple answer is because you harbor evil intent.
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The three bottom lines are simply politics, law, and ethics. The four requirements are, to put it plainly, simply mandating support for the Party's leadership and the socialist path. As for the standing of these requirements, we believe that every country has its basic bottom lines. To engage in in-depth question of of these is like engaging in in-depth questioning as to why the American President must oppose terrorism, or why British people must pledge loyalty to the Queen.
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Posing these questions is feigning ignorance. For example, how to differentiate Wester values and Chinese values, this is obviously a case of "If you try to reason with him he will play word games with you." This is not a discussion based on good intent, much less an academic exploration. This is digging, negating, and challenging.
As for problems in the area of ideology, the fact that we are seeing viewpoints such as the "three questions" popping up on private media only goes to show that we must increase our efforts on, and get a better grasp of, ideological issues. Discussion of the bottom lines will not be tolerated. 
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February 1, 2015, the Global Times published an English language article entitled “Row Over ‘Western Values’.” Some excerpts:
Remarks made by China's education minister in which he encouraged universities to "never let textbooks promoting Western values appear in our classes" have aroused discussion among the public, with many people criticizing his comments.
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Also, the minister said remarks that slander the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), smear socialism or violate the country's Constitution and laws must never be promoted in college classrooms.
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"The 'Western values' in Yuan's speech refer to Western political values and ideologies which were introduced into the country after China's opening-up but cannot fit the country's reality," Yin Yungong, an expert on the socialist system at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
Yin added that China needs to learn advanced technologies and other useful ideas from Western countries. But some values and ideologies, such as "universal values" should be excluded from classes as they may jeopardize China's political system and cause instability, Yin argued.
. . . .
"To speak highly of 'Western values' while belittling the Party may help some teachers to attract students' attention," a political instructor, surnamed Wu, from a university in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, told the Global Times.
Wu said that students could become "extreme" and turn into a destabilizing factor if they receive such education.  
February 2, 2015, the website of the Communist Youth League published another article by one of its commentators entitled "Whose Ulterior Motives Lie Beneath 'Shen Kui's Three Questions'" (“沈岿三问”项庄舞剑意在谁). Some excerpts:
No one could have imagined that the "Three Questions" could have been circulated so widely. This would be unthinkable in any other country. For example, in America, which supposedly has the most freedom of expression, it is impossible that you would ever see anyone pose a question like "How much would the quality of the country's citizenry be improved if we expelled ten million black people." That would be a violation of the Constitution, and would trip over a bottom line.
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Rejecting Western values and promoting China's values does not mean being anti-foreign, much less restricting academia. We have always welcomed and embraced advanced culture and technology from the West. Everyone can see how we've comported ourselves during the last 30 years of opening up. University ideology work is not about avoiding what is foreign, it is about not promoting indiscriminate rote mimicry and not rejecting China's values and China's path.
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Currently, there are certain classrooms where you can find theories about Western constitutional universality, historical nihilism, and the fallibility of the leadership. Certain teachers forget where they come from, belittle the Chinese people, place Western universal values on a pedestal, and deny and tear down the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. This has already gone beyond what could be considered academic discourse. This is illegal and unconstitutional, and will no longer be tolerated.
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If universities have problems, then the nation will have problems. We respect academic freedom, but academic freedom is not some basket into which you can throw any kind of thing or motivation. In every country the first and foremost requirement for teachers is ideological quality.
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A good teacher should be an active disseminator of the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Chinese dream of the great resurgence of the Chinese people. Not the opposite. 
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These screenshots were taken on February 2, and show that Baidu was censoring search results for "Shen Kui Yuan Guiren," (沈岿 袁贵仁), but not for "Shen Kui" or "Yuan Guiren."

These screenshots were taken the same day, and show that Qihoo had blacklisted search results for "Shen Kui Yuan Guiren."

February 3, 2015, the websites of many of China's most prominent media outlets, including the People's Daily, Xinhua, and Seeking Truth, published an article entitled "In Order to Get a Handle Over University Ideology Work, We Must Dare to Remove Obstacles" (抓好高校意识形态工作要敢于拔钉子) by Zhu Jidong (朱继东), the Deputy Director and Party Secretary of the  State Cultural Security and Ideology Building Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (国家文化安全与意识形态建设研究中心). Some excerpts:
In his words and deeds Yuan Guiren has been doing as he is duty-bound to do, so why is he being attacked from all sides? There are many reason, but the most fundamental one is that those who are participating in the attacks have in recent years dared to unsheathe their swords to besiege ideological territory, and have not received the punishment that they should, which has made them increasingly brazen. Therefore, in order to get a handle over university ideology work, we must dare to remove obstacles, and make a determined effort to remove those teachers who would disseminate speech that attacks the Party or Socialism. Only in this way can we truly punish evil and promote good, and usher in a new springtime for university ideology work. 
These particular attacks have been launched by some university instructors. One among them, a law professor at a certain university, had an essay that directed three questions to Yuan Guiren which  deliberately blurred "Western value systems," a concept which already had a clear and specific meaning, as a means to distort and twist to the point of becoming an attack. In addition, it was quickly spread over Weibo and Weixin. Then well-known professors of law and politics from institutes of higher learning including Beijing University and Chinese University of Politics and Law used their verified Sina Weibo accounts to further fan the flames, creating ideological chaos.
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Those university professors and public intellectual Big V's who in recent years have regularly launched verbal attacks on the Party and socialism are hateful, but they have not dared to be so brazenly antagonistic. As a result, they have been looking for an opportunity vent their discontent, while at the same time carrying out attacks on any word or deed that supports strengthening ideology work.
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The problem with China right now is that there are Party Secretaries and officials at some agencies responsible for controlling ideology who for many years have played it safe, and have been unwilling to draw their swords. They are not only unwilling to criticize incorrect ideological trends, but have also failed to support those comrades who insist on pushing positive energy. In some case they go so far as to use biting irony and burning satire to covertly suppress them.  
What can be done to change the situation when those who dare to unsheathe their swords in the ideological arena are repeatedly subjected to attacks from all sides? The most important thing is impose severe punishments on those would attack those who dare to unsheathe their swords in the ideological arena, and we must are to strike out and yank out the nails. The main reason certain people and forces  repeatedly attack those who dare to unsheathe their swords in the ideological arena is because those people and forces have not received the punishment they deserve. For example, in the case of the three questions to Yuan Guiren, neither the law professor from a certain university nor the Big V professor at his school received the punishment they deserved for repeatedly launching verbal attacks on the Party and socialism, and have instead won fame and fortune. I fear this may have a malicious effect upon instructors at institutes of higher learning. In addition, besides university instructors, there are quite a few journalists, lawyers, business people, and artists who are Big Vs on Sina Weibo who have repeatedly participated in attacks, and who have not received the punishment they deserve. It truly is the failure of certain people at relevant government agencies to do their jobs that has lead to these attackers becoming increasingly brazen. Therefore, relevant government agencies must severely investigate and prosecute these people and forces, and grab a few model examples of being on the wrong side and give them particularly harsh punishment. 
At the same time, we must resolutely take the high ground and block Western ideological infiltration and peaceful evolution, and strike hard at their representatives and spokespersons. In recent years the West has used non-governmental organizations and foundations as camouflage, and has carried out infiltration with the assistance of the Internet and other channels, in an effort to increase their infiltration of China's ideology and the strength of peaceful evolution. They have not only been actively searching for agents in China, but have also been adopting various means to vigorously manipulate the political genetic code of these people, enabling them to become a force to besiege those who would draw their swords in the ideological arena. Not only must we be on guard against this, but we must also resolutely attack all forms of infiltration into China's ideology and peaceful evolution, and under no circumstances allow them to prevail. We must also strike hard at those domestic agents and spokespersons for hostile foreign powers, show no mercy, and punish every single one we uncover. 
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February 3, 2015, the website of the Chinese Communist Party Youth League published an editorial by a commentator entitled “Under No Circumstances Can Universities be Allowed to Become Megaphones for Western Value Systems” (高校决不能成为传播西方价值观的传声筒). Some excerpts:
The core of Yuan Guiren's "Three Nevers" is there can be no spreading of Western value systems in our institutions of higher learning. This is because if the ideology battlefield of our universities is "stormed and captured" by Western value systems, its ideology will spread like an epidemic among the students, and we will face the collapse of the socialist value system. Perhaps after a period of a few years, after these students have grown up and joined the ranks of future political circles, they will in fact become faithful disciples of Western ideology. In that case, socialist universties will have truly become "breeding grounds for children of Western ideology."
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Laying siege to the "Three Nevers" is to attack the socialist system in guise of exercising free speech. There is no country in the world that would permit this kind of unconstitutional behavior to exist. One must observe certain bottom lines when instructing students. In order to build an institutional defense barrier for teachers, we must impose strict political screening when hiring teachers, implement a one-vote-and-you're-out system for teacher's ethics, and explore periodic registration systems for teachers. 
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February 4, 2015, the website of the Chinese Communist Youth League published an editorial by a commentator entitled "Unfurl the Banners of the Ideological Struggle" (意识形态斗争旗帜就要亮出来). Some excerpts:
The day before yesterday NetEase was summoned by the SIIO, and for while this became industry news, with all kinds of speculation, and people saying that there must some important "signal" here. 
That's right, this absolutely was a "signal" - a signal to the Internet industry and society as a whole. It was said that the main reason NetEase was summoned was because it suffered from severe orientation problems. The orientation problems were issues relating to supporting the leadership of the Party, insisting on the socialist path, carrying forward socialist core values, and spreading positive energy, or being insufficiently pro-active, or doing the opposite of what they should. In summoning NetEase, the SIIO was giving other websites a look, as well showing them its attitude is "Orientation First," "Ideology First." 
These days these kinds of signals are appearing more frequently. Some people express concerns, saying we are seeing an ideological constriction, that there is increasingly less freedom of speech, that we are going backwards, etc., blah blah. Their kind of reaction is normal, consistent, and to be expected. What is not normal is that some people who work in this area are in the wrong themselves, try to cover it up, dare not explain themselves, and appear to be behaving less-than-honorably.
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Our enemies have already been attacking for a long time, and have occupied the majority of our battlefield. Many people are not only not doing anything, but are to the point where they feel embarrassed to defend themselves, laying down their weapons and saying "Sir, please have seat."
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On the battle of ideology, universities are the front lines, and the Internet is field of battle. Therefore, the central authorities moving to strengthen ideological work and national and Beijing Internet regulators summoning NetEase are all signals that we need to strengthen ideology building. It is also a call to arms. . . . .
Some people have become numb, even to the point where (whether intentionally or unintentionally) they have become accomplices to our enemies. Whoever mentions positive energy, that person gets attacked. Whoever mentions strengthening ideology building, that person is deemed an outsider. Its like some kind zombie virus you see in American movies, its not enough that they themselves are infected, they must bite everyone they see, with the end goal being to plunge China into chaos.
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The world is not so quiet, and for dozens of years, and in particular in recent years, the West has been doing everything in its power to infiltrate us. The more successful and developed we come, the more worried they are, and the more desperate they become. But many people are completely devoid of any sense of the need to be on guard.
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People have built up a strong fence, but then we go and throw the gate wide open, because anything that is Western must be good. Just look at NetEase's "Open Classroom" as a random example. It takes foreign university classes and move them online into its own website. Internationalizing is not something bad, but it cannot be done with no sense of guardedness whatsoever, and at the very least there needs to be a line of caution, and not simply blindly studying. There are many similar examples, while we continue to internationalize ourselves, we should learn how to absorb what is nourishing, but be watchful against any kind of shrewd infiltration.Under no circumstances allow some bizarre genetic mutation whereby we become transformed into zombies spreading the virus of Western value systems.
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February 4, 2015, the Ministry of Education's website published an article entitled "Sing the Main Theme, Spread Positive Energy, Carry Out Ideology Work at Universities Based on the New Circumstances" (唱响主旋律 传播正能量 切实做好新形势下高校宣传思想工作). Some excerpts: 
On February 4, a meeting of university social science academics convened in Beijing to study implementation of the spirit of the document issued by the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council entitled “Opinion Regarding Further Strengthening and Improving Propaganda and Ideology Work in Higher Education Given New Circumstances.”
In attendance were expert scholars in the liberal arts from schools including Beijing University, Tsinghua University, China People's University, Nankai University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, and Wuhan University. They engaged in research exchanges on strengthening university ideology work based on the new circumstances.
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[Deputy Director] Li Weijiang pointed out that every university must remain consistent with the central Party's approach to ideology, politics, and action . . . . 
. . . .
李卫红指出,各地教育部门和各高校要在思想上、政治上、行动上与党中央保持一致 . . . .
February 5, 2015, the People's Daily website published an editorial by Xiao Sijian (萧思健), the Director of Fudan University's Party Committee's Propaganda Department (党委宣传部部长) entitled "Take a Firm Grasp of the Party's Leadership Power and Speaking Power in University Ideology Work" (牢牢把握高校意识形态工作的领导权和话语权). Some excerpts: 
Because they are on the front lines ideological battlefield and participants in social lives, universities are the direct recipients of pressure from social changes both at home and abroad, they are places where ideology and intellectual trends originate and gather, and face a new set of circumstances and challenges in ideology work.
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University propaganda battlefields include traditional media such as campus radio, newspapers and periodicals, television, and poster boards. They also include new media formats such as news websites, blogs, WeChat, Renren, and other software-based social networks. They also include classrooms, lectures, forums, and other media. They are large in number and vast in reach. In particular, with the constant progress and development of information technologies the Internet has become an important channel for university teachers to gather information, express opinions, and participate in public affairs. Many tendentious and symptomatic problems easily find their first expressions online. Therefore, it is imperative that we have a strategic and comprehensive appreciation of the extreme urgency and importance of building up universities' ideological battlefields, and make the building and control of these battlefields a fundamental project of university ideology work in order to ensure the correctness of public opinion orientation. 
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February 5, 2015, the website of the China Education Daily (sponsored by the Ministry of Education) published an editorial by a pseudonymous commentator entitled "Strengthening University Ideology Work is Not 'Brainwashing'" (加强高校意识形态工作不是“洗脑”). Some excerpts: 
We have observed that when some people see strengthening ideology building they have a very negative reaction, and believe this is about "unifying thought" and "suppressing academic freedom." There may be many reasons for this. The first is that some people don't have a full understanding of the true meaning of strengthening ideology. They do not understand ideology, and their impressions remain at the conceptual stage, and therefore easily believe that strengthening ideology building is simply "brainwashing."
The second reason is that propaganda is not meeting its goals, and the "ideology" as it is commonly understood by the people continues to be abstract in content, and people have no personal experience to relate it to, and therefore have a strong sense of discomfort.
The third reason is that some people really do worship everything foreign, "the foreign moon is fuller than the China moon," and this drives some people to have a confused understanding of ideology.
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All social activities and public discourse must comply with State's laws and regulations. This is a criteria for a modern civilized society. In our universities some teachers speak out in public forums to advocate things that violate China's laws and regulations, with the result that our students are being ideologically led astray. Clearly, this is not within the scope of academic freedom. Furthermore, this kind of thing is no longer the exception in our universities. This, therefore, is the target of strengthening university ideology construction.
Some commentary has noted that officials are opposed to the dissemination of Western value systems. But this is primarily with respect to Western political values, and not the ordinary philosophy of Western societies. Western political values are incompatible with China's political realities, and if they were to achieve a large scale infiltration into Chinese society, they would inevitably lead to an erosion of China's political foundations, and in the end would lead to uncertainty for China's political stability. 
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February 6, 2015, nine Chinese lawyers issue a Freedom of Information Application addressed to the Ministry of Education. It is signed by lawyers from Beijing, Hubei, Chongqing, Guizhou, and Yunnan: Yang Mingkua (杨名跨), Liu Wenhua (刘文华), Xu Silong (许思龙), Fu Wei (付薇), You Feizhu (游飞翥), Li Guisheng (李贵生), Zhou Lixin (周立新), Zhao Qing (赵庆), and Huang Simin (黄思敏).

The Application noted that, on January 29, 2015, Xinhua reported that at a meeting to study the spirit of the “Opinion Regarding Further Strengthening and Improving Propaganda and Ideology Work in Higher Education Given New Circumstances," Minister of Education Yuan Guiren said that it was necessary to strengthen controls over the ideological battlefield at institutions of higher learning, and in particular to strengthen controls over the creation of teaching materials and in-class instruction, and under no circumstances:
  1. allow into our classrooms any teaching materials that spread Western value systems. 
  2. permit any discussion that attacks or defames the Party's leaders or smears socialism to take place in college classrooms. 
  3. permit any discussion that violates the Constitution or laws to spread in college classrooms. 
  4. permit instructors to grouse and complain in the classroom, or inculcate a bad mood amongst the student body.
The Application requested the following information from the Ministry of Education:
  1. Provide the legal support and the basis of authority for Yuan Guiren's "Four Absolute No's" order to the nation's institutes of higher learning.
  2. Publish a standard for delineating "Western value systems."
  3. Publish the criteria for differentiating between "attacking, defaming, and smearing" and the rights of criticism, suggestion, and free speech enjoyed by citizens under the Constitution.
The Application offered background for these requests. Here are some excerpts:
According to Article 9 of the Organic Law of the State Council:  "The Ministers in charge of the ministries or commissions shall direct the work of their respective departments; convene and preside over ministerial meetings or the general and executive meetings of the commissions; sign important requests for instructions and reports to be submitted to the State Council; and sign orders and instructions to be issued to their subordinate units." In many local education administrative offices and while attending many meetings with responsible officials from institutes of higher learning, Education Minister Yuan Guiren has used the "Four Absolute Nos" as the basis to issue specific orders regarding national education work on behalf of the Ministry of Education. These are actions taken in his official capacity as Minister of Education, and is a classic example of an executive order. 
According to the fundamental requirements for exercising executive authority in accordance with the law as set forth in the "State Council Implementation Outline for Comprehensively Promoting Administration in Accordance with the Law," administrative agencies must conduct executive management in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and rules. Where something is not stipulated in a law, regulation, or rule, then an administrative agency may not issue any decisions which impact the legal rights and interests of, or which create additional duties for, citizens, corporations, or other organizations. 
The "Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Decision on Certain Major Issues Regarding Comprehensively Promoting the Rule of Law" also clearly requires: "All levels of government must insist upon executing tasks on a rule-of-law track. . . . Administrative agencies shall ensure that they perform those duties mandated by law, and not take actions they are not empowered to take. . . . Administrative agencies shall not establish any authority beyond what is legally mandated, and must not, except upon the basis of laws and regulations, issue any decisions which deplete the legal rights and interests, or increase the duties, of citizens, corporations, or other organizations." 
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Article 2 of China's Constitution provides: "All power in the People's Republic of China belongs to the people." Article 35 of the Constitution provides citizens with the right to freedom of speech. Article 41 of the Constitution provides citizens the right to criticize and offer suggestions to "any state organ or functionary." Article 47 further ensures citizens' "freedom to engage in scientific research, literary and artistic creation and other cultural pursuits." Education Minister Yuan Guiren's "Four Absolute Nos" executive order places severe additional requirements and restrictions upon the aforementioned Constitutional rights with respect to the activities of institutions of higher learning, and he ought to publicly explain the legal basis from which this power originates.  
Furthermore, how to define "Western value systems" How to distinguish speech that "attacks and defames Party leaders, and smears socialism"? How to balance speech that is allegedly "attacking, defaming, and smearing" against the rights granted to citizens under Articles 35, 41, and 47 of the Constitution to the freedom of speech, to criticize and suggest, and to academic freedom?  
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February 6, 2015, the print editions of the People's Daily, Guangming Daily, and the China Education Daily, as well as the Xinhua website published editorials on the topic of ideological indoctrination at China's institutions of higher learning.

People's Daily, Page Six: "Ensure Marxism Plays Leading Role in Universities' Ideological Arenas" (坚持马克思主义在高校意识形态领域的指导地位).
Jin Nuo [Party Central Committee Secretary at China People's University] said that university liberal arts departments have made important contributions to cementing the leadership role of Marxism in universities' ideological arena. But they have not lived up to the demands of the times and the hopes of the Party and the people when it comes to training personnel, thought leadership, and policy consulting. In particular, some people fail to take Chinese practices and Chinese issues as the starting point for thought and research, and simply use Western theoretical and academic discourse systems to analyze Chinese practices. 
Guangming Daily, Page Four: "Teachers Are the Foundation of Ideology Battlefield Construction at Our Institutions of Higher Learning" (高校意识形态阵地建设根本在于教师).
Zhang Leisheng, a professor at the Marxism Institute at China People's University, stressed that, when comes to ideological issues, if we do not speak in terms of a "singular" guiding ideology, if we do not speak in terms of Marxism being our guiding ideology, then there is no hope for socialism. "At China's current stage, we must insist upon having Marxism as our guide, and employ a "singular" guiding ideology to steer and create conformity amongst diverse social ideologies."
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Zhang Leisheng also stressed that university instructors must be clear: "there are no areas of academic research that are out-of-bounds, but classroom lectures must observe discipline, and everyone will be held responsible for the words they speak. . . . Being responsible for Marxist theory and political ideology education means living up to the responsibility to provide college students with instruction in theory and guidance in thought, insisting upon making the Party's basic line the inherent basis for all instruction, and taking the initiative to become a proselytizer of core socialist values. Whether inside or outside the classroom, you must be strict with yourself, and use your academic charm and personal charisma to infect your students."
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"Increase control over classroom instruction, strictly direct and supervise the teaching process, implement comprehensive controls over radio, television, billboards, the Internet, public lectures, research seminars, lectures, forums, and the activities of organizations. Establish systems so that every meeting and event gets reported, and under no circumstances provide any room for the dissemination of any erroneous ideas or inappropriate speech that is anti-Marxist or anti-socialist."
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Online life has already become an important way of life for university teachers, a well as becoming a major channel for the expression of social trends and the exchange of ideas. What we must pay more attention to, however, is that in recent years enemy forces have employed every means at their disposal, including capital infiltration, inciting propaganda, and data mining, to use Internet platforms to attract students, and have tried in vain to mislead students' ideology, control students' values, and shake students' faith." Su Ming, Director of Shanghai's Education Commission, believes that in order to ensure that Marxism plays the leading role in universities' ideological arena, we must get a hold over how expression is regulated, and do everything feasible to strengthening leadership over online public opinion. 
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China Education Daily, Page Two: "Move to Make a Grab, Dare to Take Control, Excel at Building" (主动抓敢于管善于建) by Zuo Min, Party Secretary for the Shandong Party Committee Education Working Group. 
Enforce the principle of freedom in academic research and discipline in classroom lectures, formulate measures to control the classroom that are based on scientific principles, establish classroom control systems, strictly implement oversight and inspection of teacher hiring and teaching assessment and processes. Under no circumstances permit the spread of incorrect ideological viewpoints in the classroom, and ensure that classroom are fertile soil for the impartation of knowledge.
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Insist up on the principle that the Party controls the media, increase controls over campus newspapers an periodicals, radio and television, and publications. Implement comprehensive control systems for academic speeches, seminars, lectures, and forums, implement systems so every meeting gets reported, and under no circumstances give incorrect ideological viewpoints any channel for transmission. 
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China Education Daily, Page Two: "Enforce a Direction in Schooling, Drive for Ideological Excellence, Do Your Duty to Achieve Virtue in Education" (坚持办学方向 突出思想引领 落实立德树人根本任务) by Li Zhongwei, Party Secretary for the Shanxi Party Committee Education Working Group. 
We must redouble our efforts when it comes to political ideology, and make it explicit to teachers their  responsibility and a duty when it comes to cultivating an ideology, that they are duty-bound to bear a responsibility to history, and to increase conformity of ideology, politics, and sentiment. We must strive to consolidate bottom-line-thinking, and enable teachers to steadfastly hold up the bottom the political, legal, and moral bottom lines. Enforce the principle of freedom in academic research and discipline in classroom lectures. Do not transmit or spread any viewpoints that illegal or harmful, do not defame or smear the Party's leaders or the socialist system, and do not vent your personal negative feelings of resentment. 
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Implement comprehensive control systems for the battlefield of ideological propaganda. Implement systems so that every academic speech, seminar, lecture, and forum, gets reported. Increase controls over university newspapers and periodicals, radio stations, television stations, and publications. Regulate how all kinds of university organizations are managed. Under no circumstances provide the slightest opening for incorrect ideological trends and viewpoints, and ensure that the battlefield of university ideological propaganda is orderly and healthy. 
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Xinhua: "What's Wrong With Saying 'No' to Incorrect Western Viewpoints?" (对西方错误观点说“不”何错之有?)
Recently, Yuan Guiren, the Minister of Eduction, became a hot topic when his speech about the "introduction of Western teaching materials" made the news. This incident cannot help but lead one to ponder.
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Yuan Guiren pointed out some problems with the teaching materials used in universities and their teaching environment. He established certain fundamental principles and bottom lines with respect to the introduction of Western teaching materials, and called for a boycott of "incorrect Western value systems." He did not, however, completely repudiate, much less "shut down," anything. In this respect, it is completely twisting Yuan's fundamental meaning for some people to interpret what he said as a "complete repudiation" or a return to a "closed door policy."
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When it comes to academic issues, we fully support "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend," and unequivocally stand up for no restrictions on research on, and discussion of, academic issues. But when it comes to political theory propaganda, including the Party's general and specific policies, then it is also necessary to talk about orientation and self-discipline. This is the primary substance of ideology propaganda work. Universities are important battlegrounds in the ideological arena, and if you don't take the initiative to capture the territory, then other people will capture it. If progressive culture does not capture the territory, then it will be captured by incorrect and backwards things. Western values are a multi-faceted and complicated thing, with much that runs contrary to humanity's civilized and mainstream values. What is so wrong with blocking the spread of the West's incorrect viewpoints? 
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People's Daily report on Gong Ke's speech
February 9, 2015, the education channel of the People's Daily website published an article entitled "Nankai Dean: Ideology Work Cannot Go to the Other Extreme" (南开校长:意识形态工作不能走到另外一个极端). Some excerpts:
"Recently I have seen online that some people are talking about cleaning out, purifying, and rectifying the teaching ranks, and this is something that I cannot agree with, this is the mentality of 1957 or 1966." Gong Ke, Dean of Nankai University, spoke at today's online forum, saying that while we are strengthening ideological work we cannot go to the other extreme, we cannot repeat the "leftist" mistakes of history in our treatment of intellectuals. 
“最近我在网上看有人讲要全面清理、纯洁、整顿教师队伍,这个我不能同意,这是1957年的思维或者1966年的思维。” 南开大学校长龚克今天在本网访谈时表示,我们在加强意识形态工作时不能走到另外一个极端上去,不能重蹈历史上对待知识分子的“左”的错误。
February 11, 2015, the state-sponsored Global Times, which is published by the People's Daily, published an editorial entitled "Online 'Montages' Dig at Minister and Dean" (互联网“蒙太奇”坑完部长坑校长). Some excerpts:
Xinhua report on Gong Ke speech
There's never a shortage of excitement on the Internet. Early in the morning yesterday many websites prominently displayed articles about an interview with Gong Ke, Dean of Nankai University, under the headline "Ideological work Cannot Repeat 'Leftist' Mistakes."
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Gong Ke's speech was selectively reported, and the aforementioned content was only a portion of what he said. This report was reposted by certain commercial websites with a modified headline and placed in prominent positions, causing it to take no a meaning beyond its original content. 
Taken as a whole, what Gong Ke said is defensible and stands up to analysis. But singling out those specific statements from the entirety of what was said at the seminar that day, and putting on a headline like the one mentioned above, is the kind of "montaging" that one commonly sees online these days. When people draw connections between the strengthening of university ideology propaganda work, Yuan Guiren's statements about implementing this project that certain people have attacked, and some people declaring "the anti-rightists have returned," it creates a particularly forceful impact.
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Many voices online claim that this problem "can be ignored" or "there's nothing to be done about it." But if we see a repeat of this kind manipulating and twisting of statements by Gong Ke and Yuan Guiren, everyone must see that it is truly "no small thing." 
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February 12, 2015, the website of the Communist Youth League published an editorial by Wang Dehua (王德华) entitled "It is Groundless to Talk of a 'Return to the Cultural Revolution'" (说“回到文革”是杞人忧天). Some excerpts: 
Some people are neurotic when it comes to rectifying the teaching ranks. "Comprehensively rectify the teaching ranks? This is the mentality of 1957 or 1966." Some others go online and say that they feel as if the Cultural Revolution has returned. There has even appeared online "Nine Lawyers Express Doubts About the Ministry of Eduction" questioning the legality of rectifying institutes of higher learning.
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Do not use the Cultural Revolution as a shield. As soon as someone mentions rectifying the teaching ranks it must "leftist." When people bite the hand that feeds them, the hand of the Communist Party, and violate laws and the Constitution, should we just let it slide? The only members of the teaching ranks who will get rectified are the rotten apples that would spoil the bunch. If we can admit that "there are certainly those within the teaching ranks who have issues when it comes to political viewpoints, lifestyle, finances, and academic discipline," then why can we not agree to "clean out, purify, and rectify the ranks of teachers"?
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The "Nine Lawyers Express Doubts About the Ministry of Eduction" may shout about "by its nature learning should be open, and to seal up schools and shut up the country is to endanger the nation," but this what they are in fact doing is opening the door to make it easy for Western incorrect value systems to spread throughout our institutions of higher learning. Many people believe that China cannot be "brought down with curses," but they are naive. There is still a vibrant market for those who peddle the idea that "China's political reforms are lagging behind its economic reforms." Certain people continue to blindly worship the West's electoral system, and their goal is to tear down the "Imperial Palace" and replace it with a "White House."
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Under no circumstances can students, whose minds are like blank slates, be exposed to the Western world view.

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February 14, 2015, Ren Zhiqiang (任志强) published a post on his Caijing blog entitled "What Are Western Value Systems" (什么是西方价值观). Some excerpts:
If our own value systems are superior to Western value systems, if China wishes to see the world accept China's value system, then why can't the two value systems be allowed to openly compete on the same platform? Why is it necessary to fear Western value systems?
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Marxism was not invented in China. The October Revolution led by Lenin was once the model for China's revolutionaries, but it did not originate in China. The war against Japan was one part of a global movement to oppose fascism, making no distinctions between East and West. Many of the laws and regulations enacted after reform and opening up began benefited from learning from other countries and the West. Accepting capital from East and West, commercial trading with East and West, these actions that were unacceptable during the Cultural Revolution era. 
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These screenshots show that the blog was originally available here - - but was subsequently deleted.

February 15, 2015, the websites of several mainland China news outlets published an article entitled "Ren Zhiqiang: Our Government Basically Does Not Care About Protecting Private Property" (任志强:我们的政府根本就不想保护私有财产). Some excerpts:
GDP is falling. Why is some are some investments moving abroad? Besides us, are others also investing abroad? So what are the reasons underlying falling private investment? Perhaps the main reasons are that the government has no credibility, violates its contracts, and appropriates private property.
In addition, the government puts excessive emphasis on the gun and the knife and opposes Western value systems. The winds of the Cultural Revolution are picking up again. Furthermore, when it comes protecting private property, they talk about rule of law, when in fact the rule of law they emphasize is the power of government. 
These screenshots show that the article was deleted from the websites of Phoenix and China Economic Net.

Original URLs:
February 16, 2015, the Global Times published an editorial by Wang Dehua (王德华) entitled "Ren Zhiqiang's Spouting About the Return of the Cultural Revolution Exposes Him For Who He Truly Is" (任志强扯出文革来说事是欲盖弥彰). The Global Times did not disclose Wang's affiliation, but there is a Wang Dehua who maintains a blog a claims to be a "Special Commentator" for the Global Times.  Some excerpts:
What Ren Zhiqiang said has the appearance of truth, but is actually false. His logic is all over the place, and he ignores the facts and makes vague accusations. He advocates Western value systems, but cannot cover up the "the filth that lies underneath," like the West's political system, one person one vote, the multi-party system, separation of powers, etc. Just as he said: "In a democratic country, who holds power is determined by vote." China's current political system is not based on one person one vote, therefore the legality of the Communist Party's hold on power would be called into question, and this is the crux of the issue.
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Not accepting Western political systems, opposing having Western value systems forced upon us, attacking corruption - how can this be equated with the Cultural Revolution?
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If you are not doing anything illegal, then why are you afraid of the gun and the knife? By trotting out the Cultural Revolution you are saying more about yourself than anything else. 
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The Global Times subsequently removed Wang's editorial from its website (original URL -, but it can still be found on Wang's blog here -