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Student Informer Reported on Chinese University Professor

On October 27, Xu Songyan, a professor at China’s Southwest University (SWU) located in the city of Chongqing, posted on Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese microblogging platform, that a student informer who, after secretly sitting in his class, told him that Xu will be questioned (by the authorities). The post, which was subsequently deleted from Weibo, received attention from millions of Chinese netizens.

Chinese universities have what are called “information officers,” who are students appointed by the school to collect information on teaching activities, and who regularly file reports with the university. These student “informers” also report faculty members’ views and opinions to the university’s Communist Party and administrative authorities. The academic fields are under close watch including programs of literature, history and philosophy.

Xu Songyan is currently a professor at SWU’s School of History and Culture, where he teaches ancient Greek and Roman history. Recent years have seen criticism of the promotion of ancient Greek culture in mainland China, as ancient Greece was known as the birthplace of western democracy. Communist Party chairman Xi Jinping once said that the “path to socialism with Chinese characteristics must be deeply rooted in the fertile soil of Chinese culture, that one should have a firm confidence in Chinese culture, and that one should not ‘always talk about Greece.’”

This is not the first time that a student “information officer” reported a professor. In May 2018, Zhai Juhong, a professor at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, was reported by a student informer and expelled from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by the CCP Committee of the university. She was also dismissed from her position and disqualified as a teacher because of her comments on constitutional amendments, the state-owned enterprises and the institution of the People’s Congress.

Source: Ming Pao (Hong Kong), October 28, 2022