China has been working to instill more patriotic values in its students, the New York Times reports:
Chinese students, already immersed in classes and textbooks that promote nationalist loyalty to the Communist Party as a bedrock value, must be made even more patriotic and devoted to the party, even when they are studying in universities abroad, according to a new directive sent to education officials.
The directive, issued by the Communist Party organization of the Ministry of Education, calls for “patriotic education” to suffuse each stage and aspect of schooling, through textbooks, student assessments, museum visits and the Internet, which is the chief source of information for many young Chinese.
This story points to the biggest reason to fear economic trouble in China: not the gloom and doom from outside analysts, but the mounting evidence that the Chinese government is in some sort of panic about the loyalty of its citizens. We’ve had the purge, we’ve had trouble for foreigners, we’ve had crackdowns on human rights NGOs and Christians, and the propaganda at last week’s New Year’s Eve celebrations was noticeably shriller than usual.
Meanwhile, the people who know China’s situation the best, who have access to inside information that the rest of us don’t, have been giving pretty clear signals that they are terrified of unrest. And while the accelerating capital flight from China has a lot to do with the economy, it is another sign that insiders want out for other reasons, too.
Something big seems to be happening in China, and the increasingly desperate attempts by the regime to assert power suggest that the people who run the country are losing their confidence in the future. Even more than collapsing equity prices or a volatile currency, the political situation in China should make everyone very, very worried.