China has introduced "Xi Jinping Thought" in schools as the Communist Party extends the personality cult of its strongest leader, since Mao Zedong, to little children (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@PDChina)
China has introduced "Xi Jinping Thought" in schools as the Communist Party extends the personality cult of its strongest leader, since Mao Zedong, to little children. The aim is to catch them young in order to bring up a new generation of indoctrinated patriots.
The education ministry has said it would incorporate Xi's ideology into the national curriculum, from primary schools to graduate courses in colleges and universities.
Primary school teachers must "plant the seeds of loving the party, the country and socialism in young hearts,” according to an official notice on the new curriculum.
The move to permeate indoctrination to the grassroots follows the "two centenary goals" that Xi announced in 2017 at the 19th Party congress. According to the interpretation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the first centenary goal of eliminating extreme poverty was accomplished this year, marking 100 years of the formation of the Party. The next big goal is turn China into an unrivaled superpower by 2049, marking 100 years of formation of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
The new school textbooks are filled with the President's quotes and carry pictures of his smiling face amid chapters on the achievements of Chinese civilisation and the Communist Party's role in removing poverty from the country and successfully fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lessons are interspersed with Mr Xi’s quotes on patriotism and anecdotes of his meetings with citizens.
“Grandpa Xi Jinping is very busy with work, but no matter how busy he is, he still joins our activities and cares about our growth," ABC News has cited one of the textbooks as saying.
Books for older children include more advanced subjects such as the country's aerospace industry and the path to becoming a "modern socialist great power."
The ABC News report revealed that several parents privately expressed discomfort about the curriculum but declined to be interviewed, fearing they would get in trouble for speaking to foreign media.
China watchers see the campaign as a projection of Xi Jinping as a nationalist strongman who is making China stable at home and a superpower on the world stage.
The drive to indoctrinate kids also comes at a time when China is carrying out a wider campaign to fight what it considers corrupting influences on the youth, from video games to celebrities and foreign educational tools.
As part of its revival doctrine the country has also targeted its biggest firms such as Ali Baba and Tencent, slapping them with hefty fines. They have been accused of making excessive profits, harming national security with their lax approach to data, abusing workers and driving smaller firms out of business.
Xi Jinping’s "thought" encompasses 14 principles including "absolute party leadership" over the military and "improving living standards through development". These have been enshrined in the constitution since 2018 when the Communist Party abolished the earlier term limit for a Chinese President and paved the way for Xi Jinping to stay in power for as long as he wants.
China's ruling Communist Party had by voting to enshrine Xi Jinping's name and ideology in its Constitution elevated him to the level of founder Mao Zedong. The unanimous vote to incorporate "Xi Jinping Thought" taken at the Communist Party congress also meant that any challenge to Xi would be seen as a threat to Communist Party rule.