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Friday, September 24, 2021

Explained: The ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ that China will now teach from school to university

The Chinese education ministry said the effort was aimed "to cultivate the builders and successors of socialism with an all-round moral, intellectual, physical and aesthetic grounding".

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 26, 2021 7:49:44 am
Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Reuters)

From its primary schools up to university, China will now teach “Xi Jinping Thought”, to “establish Marxist belief” in the country’s youth and for strengthening the “resolve to listen to and follow the Party”, its Ministry of Education said in new guidelines published on Tuesday.

Officially called the “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, they are a set of policies and ideas attributed to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who many now regard as the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic.

Xi Jinping Thought, which was first mentioned at the Communist Party’s top conclave in 2017, became a part of China’s constitution a year later.

The step is being interpreted as Xi’s latest move to expand the Chinese Communist Party’s role in every walk of life– from businesses to cultural institutions, schools and colleges. The education ministry said in a statement that the effort was aimed “to cultivate the builders and successors of socialism with an all-round moral, intellectual, physical and aesthetic grounding”.

Xi Jinping Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Tibet. (AP)

What is Xi Jinping Thought?

Xinhua, China’s official state news agency, described Xi Jinping Thought at the time of its adoption in 2018 as “the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and encapsulates the practical experience and collective wisdom of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the people.”

The thought spells out eight “fundamental issues” at the “theoretical level”, and lays down 14 “fundamental principles” to guide the government’s efforts.

Among the fundamental issues listed is making China a “moderately prosperous” society through “socialist modernisation” and “national rejuvenation”, thus building China “into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of the century.”

It also says that the Party intends to build “world-class” military forces “that obey the Party’s command, can fight and win, and maintain excellent conduct.”

Another one states: “the overall goal of comprehensively advancing law-based governance is to establish a system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and build a country of socialist rule of law.” The Party has also been declared as the “highest force for political leadership”.

The 14 fundamental principles to bring these endeavours into action are as follows:

— Ensuring Party leadership over all work;

— Committing to a people-centred approach;

— Continuing to comprehensively deepen reform;

— Adopting a new vision for development;

— Seeing that the people run the country;

— Ensuring every dimension of governance is law-based;

— Upholding core socialist values;

— Ensuring and improving living standards through development;

— Ensuring harmony between humans and nature;

— Pursuing a holistic approach to national security;

— Upholding absolute Party leadership over the people’s forces;

— Upholding the principle of “one country, two systems” and promoting national reunification;

— Promoting the building of a community with a shared future for humanity;

— Exercising full and rigorous governance over the Party.

Have all of China’s leaders enforced such “thoughts”?

Not all. Of all the leaders that Communist China has seen so far since 1949– Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping– only Mao, Deng and Xi have had their own binding philosophies.

Among them too, only Mao and Xi have had the political stature to enforce their “thoughts” while they were still ruling; Deng’s philosophy was published posthumously.

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