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Beijing’s Intensified Control over China’s Higher Education

A Duowei News article put together information about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) practices of tightened control over the nation’s higher education.

At the beginning of 2019, for the first time, the Chinese media reported a case of the CCP Central Disciplinary Committee intervening in the personnel appointment at a Chinese university. Observers believe that this is a new signal that the CCP is strengthening its discipline and supervision of its universities. Days later, at a Provincial and Ministerial Leadership Seminar on January 21, 2019, Xi Jinping emphasized ideological risk when talking about the “seven major risks.” The two incidents point to the same group in the population – China’s youth. The article gave a list of CCP actions at China’s universities.

In April 2013, the CCP General Office’s “No. 9 Document,” or Bulletin on Current Ideological Situations, issued a warning that there was an ideological crisis in China’s higher education system.

On August 19, 2013, the China National Propaganda and Ideological Work Conference identified Chinese universities as “important areas and as having forefront positions in ideology.”

In October 2014, the CCP General Office issued a document that Chinese universities should “adhere to the core leadership position of the Party committee” and that “the Party committee has the overall leadership of the school’s work.”

In June 2017, the CCP Central Committee inspection teams pointed out problems that existed in 14 Centrally Controlled Universities (CCU’s) including Peking University and Tsinghua University. The problems are that “the Party’s leadership has weakened” and that “the core role of the Party committee is not fully functional.” The Central Committee demanded that a comprehensive rectification occur in order to correct all the universities.

In August 2018, it was reported that the Chinese-foreign joint venture universities would be required to set up a Party branch.

In China the CCP Central Committee directly manages a group of 31 so-called Centrally Controlled Universities (CCUs), or colleges and universities.  The CCU’s party secretary and president are directly appointed by the CCP Central Committee, instead of the Ministry of Education, and rank at the deputy minister level. It is generally believed that the 31 CCU’s are the top universities in China, including Tsinghua University and Peking University.

Source: Duowei News, February 1, 2019