China vows no ‘Western values’ in universities

BEIJING: China’s education minister has vowed to ban university textbooks which promote “Western values”, state media said, in the latest sign of ideological tightening under President Xi Jinping.

“Never let textbooks promoting Western values appear in our classes,” minister Yuan Guiren said, according to a report on Thursday by China’s official Xinhua news agency.

“Remarks that slander the leadership of the Communist Party of China” and “smear socialism” must never appear in college classrooms, he added.

China’s universities are run by the ruling Communist party, which tightly controls discussions of history and other topics it construes as a potential threat to its grip on power.

The party often brands concepts such as multiparty elections and the separation of powers as “Western”, despite their global appeal and application.

China has tightened controls on academics since Xi assumed the party leadership in 2012, with several outspoken professors sacked or jailed.

Xia Yeliang, an economics professor at the prestigious Peking University, was fired from his post in 2013 after a 13-year tenure in a decision he attributed to persistent calls for political change in China.

Xia was one of the original signatories of the reformist petition Charter 08, whose main author Liu Xiaobo remains in prison even after winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2015


 

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