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The Purge
China Threatens Ideological Dissenters in Academia

Following earlier signs that China’s anti-corruption purge had been extended to the academy, a top Party official has made some serious threats against teachers who might promote Western ideas in an article published in several of China’s most-read outlets. The excellent China blogger at Fei Chang Dao points out the key causes for alarm (the bolded portions of the translated excerpt below):

[…] in order to get a handle over university ideology work, we must dare to remove obstacles, and make a determined effort to remove those teachers who would disseminate speech that attacks the Party or Socialism. […]

Therefore, relevant government agencies must severely investigate and prosecute these people and forces, and grab a few model examples of being on the wrong side and give them particularly harsh punishment.

The official then delves into a familiar expression of paranoia about the West:

In recent years the West has used non-governmental organizations and foundations as camouflage, and has carried out infiltration with the assistance of the Internet and other channels, in an effort to increase their infiltration of China’s ideology and the strength of peaceful evolution. […]

Not only must we be on guard against this, but we must also resolutely attack all forms of infiltration into China’s ideology and peaceful evolution, and under no circumstances allow them to prevail. We must also strike hard at those domestic agents and spokespersons for hostile foreign powers, show no mercy, and punish every single one we uncover.

All of China has seen what is happening to top party officials who step out of line, and educators will take be taking note of this dire threat. Maoism did not leave much room for dissent, and neither it seems will Xi, as he follows in Mao’s footsteps.

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  • Kevin

    I’m curious to see what the effect of this sort of insanity will have on China’s economy – an economy transitioning from extensive to intensive growth and trying to move up the productivity curve might find such ideological campaigns to be particularly damaging. I am curious how Xi and his closest advisers see economic growth and political stability (meaning in the PRC case the continued power of the senior leadership of the CCP) – they seem to be transitioning away from a view that growth will bring political stability (and buy off ideological challengers to their power) and towards a view that political stability in and of itself is the key factor and that economic growth is not a principal concern.

    I think WRM has said he thinks that Xi’s actions are due to a belief by Xi that economic growth will decline and that other bases of support for the regime must be found. I suspect this is getting it backwards – Xi is interested in maximizing his personal power and places much less importance on the role of economic growth in furthering this interest than his predecessors did. Thus Xi is not so much bettering down the hatches against a coming economic storm that will undermine the CCP’s legitimacy as strengthening his own power even if it does further undermine growth as he does not really think growth is such a key driver of political stability and his own power.

    It’s also worth noting that leaders who unleashed ideological purges (such as Stalin or Mao -not that Xi is (yet?) anywhere near their level of genocidal behavior) were not so much interested in stability as power – they were quite content to ride the whirlwind if it furthered their own power. It might be that Xi also has a similar view – he’s wiling to cause chaos if it furthers his power. This is very different from the 1980-2010 CCP leadership who sought stability above all.

  • Anthony

    Zbigniew Brzezinski makes informative comments about China/U.S. Duopoly – listening to interview (Podcast) can only enrich outsider “view” regarding China and its rise inclusive and exclusive of Xi.

  • Fat_Man

    “a top Party official has made some serious threats against teachers who might promote Western ideas”

    Many American Campuses have more thoroughly eliminated Western ideas than any Chinese campus ever will. Aren’t we glad that we have freedom of speech in the America.

  • Corlyss

    “China Threatens Ideological Dissenters in Academia”
    At last! China is finally starting to act like America!

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    If the Communist Party and Socialism were really the best path to human progress, wouldn’t they invite critical thinking and an open minded approach as likely to arrive at a truth favorable to them? Evidently they already know that Communism and Socialism are failed systems, and only seek to suppress free speech in order to hang onto Power. China is doomed to stagnation and abject poverty now that the foreign investors are abandoning them as far too risky to do business with.

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