The Communist Party of China has increased its control over universities, targeting young people, so that the history of the Party can “enter the brain and heart”?

The Communist Party of China (CPC) recently revised the Regulations on the Work of Grassroots Organizations of the Communist Party of China in General Institutions of Higher Education to strengthen its control over universities. Scholars worry that this will further suppress academic freedom. In the run-up to the centennial of the Communist Party’s founding, ideological brainwashing has escalated, with Party history education in Shanghai claiming to target young people to get Party history “into their heads and hearts. However, scholars believe that the CCP’s move has had little effect.

In mid-April, the CPC announced revised regulations on the work of grassroots organizations of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in general higher education institutions, emphasizing the implementation of “Party leadership” in “all aspects of the process” and the establishment of disciplinary committees or disciplinary inspection committees in party committees of faculties and departments. The revised regulations extend the Communist Party’s control network to the grassroots level in colleges and universities.

Radio Free Asia reports that Carl Minzner, a professor of Chinese law and political science at Fordham University in New York, believes that the revised regulations, which specify the proportion of relevant counselors, are intended to steadily increase the number of people in universities who are loyal to the CCP, rather than academically inclined academics, in the hope of extending the Party’s control network deeper into the grassroots. This is to extend the Party’s control network to the grassroots and to undermine the original “policy from above, response from below” approach.

Ming Kesheng mentioned that in the past, Chinese universities had a certain degree of flexibility to circumvent the central government’s orders and protect their colleagues by “having policies at the top and countermeasures at the bottom”. But in the past decade, the central government has intensified its crackdown, many professors have been fired or retaliated against, and the willingness of academics to speak publicly has declined.

The new regulations stipulate that full-time counselor positions are in accordance with a teacher-student ratio of not less than 1:200, and full-time ideological and political theory course teachers are in accordance with a teacher-student ratio of not less than 1:350. Prior to this, the Chinese Communist Party had gradually taken control of college education. Last fall, 37 Chinese colleges and universities offered an “Introduction to Xi Thought” course.

Patricia M. Thornton, a political scientist at the University of Oxford, said in a social media tweet that the revised regulations could further oppress academic freedom at Chinese universities by making the academic community more responsive to the CCP’s regulations, as well as to the CCP’s committees or branches.

As the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) approaches, CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping has called for revisiting the history of the CPC and strengthening red education. The official push has led to a so-called “red tourism boom” in many places.

Shanghai’s Party history education is targeting young people, promoting Party history through film and television productions and online thematic group classes. Zhou Huilin, head of the propaganda department of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee, even claimed at a meeting of the Central Propaganda Department that Shanghai is focusing on Party history education for young people, and stressed that Party history education should be “in the brain and in the heart.

However, according to Princeton China Society Executive Chairman Chen Kuide, the effect of such Party history education for young people may be limited, because even though the Internet is heavily blocked, young people still have the means to learn the truth about China from outside the “walled” world.