rare protest was staged at Shanghai’s prestigious Fudan University on Wednesday following changes made to the school’s charter that removed commitments to ideals like “free thinking” and replaced them with pledges of loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party.
Dozens of students took part in the flash mob demonstration at the university’s cafeteria, belting out Fudan’s school song, which exalts “academic independence and freedom of thought not fettered by political or ideological influence.”
Breaking: Fudan Uni students gather to sing their school anthem in the cafeteria, which incl the lyrics: 學術獨立，思想自由，政羅教網無羈絆 – academic Independence & freedom in thoughts, ones which were removed frm school charter ystday. H/t @zhengwei75 https://t.co/oaXDgqV07W pic.twitter.com/QCJC8ons7d
— Linda Lew 刘凌达 (@Lindadalew) December 18, 2019
The song helped to form part of the basis for the schools’ 2014 charter. However, a December revision to that constitution which was published on Tuesday has removed many references to the university’s avowed ideals including “free thinking”
One revision removed the word “independently” from the sentence “teachers and students independently and autonomously conduct academic studies.”
Meanwhile, the charter has been beefed up with sentences of CCP jargon, promising to operate under “the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership guided by Marxism and Socialism with Chinese characteristics” and to always “serve the people and the Party.”
The revisions also stress the need to equip teachers and university employees with a firm understanding of “Xi Jinping Thought.”
Fudan U, one of the most prominent institutions in China, amended its bylaws by taking out “academic independence and freedom of thought” and adding language that pledges the school to CCP leadership. (Screenshot from Ministry of Ed notice) pic.twitter.com/MC4VuDZgjZ
— Amy Cheng (@Amy_23_Cheng) December 17, 2019
Under Xi’s guidance, the Chinese government has been placing increased emphasis on students’ political education in recent years, stressing loyalty to the Party and its principles while attempting to stop the spread of “Western values,” starting all the way down at the primary school level.
“It is essential to gradually open and upgrade ideological and political theory courses in primary, secondary and tertiary schools, which is an important guarantee for training future generations who are well-prepared to join the socialist cause,” Xi declared in a speech earlier this year.
“Ideological and political courses should deliver the country’s mainstream ideology and directly respond to false ideas and thoughts.”