There’s one name on the lips of China’s best and brightest at universities across the country — Marx.
Since 2007, Chinese universities have been running “Young Marxists” programs where students can learn all about the Party’s guiding ideology, those courses are now reaching a new peak in popularity. More than 1,000 colleges across China have started chapters, training over 1 million “Young Marxists,” the Global Times reports.
And they aren’t just letting everyone master Marxism. The selective program only admits students who do well academically and “exhibit a basic understanding of Marxist theory and go through multiple written tests and interviews.” An article in China Youth Daily boasts that the program has trained talented youths who are firm in their ideological faith and character, and are “lighting lamps that illuminate all of its surroundings.”
A student at Changchun Normal University told the Global Times that learning Marxism for him involved “attending lectures, leading discussions and helping to maintain social media accounts.” But all this hard work is not without its rewards, the university has also bestowed upon its “Young Marxists” exclusive opportunities by organizing field trips to historical CCP landmarks, assigning professors as mentors and even granting special internship opportunities.
One sophomore student majoring in broadcasting and television hosting explained how Marxism connects with her field of study: “I said that if I’m able to master Marxism, [as a broadcaster] I will help it reach a bigger audience and more people would be able to know about Marxism.”
This kind of thinking must be a godsend for Chinese propaganda officials. Earlier this month, an internal investigation found that they were not doing a good enough job at emphasizing political thought in universities or correctly guiding public opinion. This program might just put them back on the correct path, answering Chinese President Xi Jinping’s frequent calls for Marxist “ideological guidance” in universities.
In recent years, top officials have worried that young people are being taken in by lesser forms of Western thought. China’s minister of universities, Yuan Guiren, even suggested that Western powers may be attempting to ideologically infiltrate universities.
To counter these efforts at Western “brainwashing,” China has its apparently tremendously successful “Young Marxists” program, as well as sweet rap videos about the country’s guiding theoretical light:
By Amy Yang