New York University Shanghai has disclosed that, since 2018, its students of Chinese citizenship have been forced to take a “civic education” course which covers the history of the Communist Party and China’s socialist path. According to the school, the course was opened at the request of the Chinese government and non-Chinese students are not required to take it.
The website of the U.S. online media VICE posted the syllabus of the course, titled “Marxism: Dissemination, Practice and Development.” It is an eight day, Chinese-speaking course running daily from 8:30 am to 5:15 pm. The course will not appear in the university’s public course catalog and the school will register students through WeChat. It includes a visit to the Longhua Martyrs’ Cemetery in Shanghai, commemorating the sacrifice of the “martyrs” in the Communist revolution. There is also a movie screening on the “development of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
The school claimed that professors from NYU do not teach this course. It has been offered during the winter break and will not interfere with the students’ usual courses at NYU, nor will it affect academic freedom.
In recent years, Beijing has intensified its efforts to promote patriotic education, with an emphasis on fostering loyalty to the Communist Party among young people. In recent months, with the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, the political atmosphere of Chinese universities and colleges has become tense. It has been reported that the Chinese government has mobilized students to monitor and report “radical” political views. Some teachers have been dismissed or subjected to discipline for expressing views not in line with the Communist ideology.
Source: Radio France International, November 22, 2019