The Undergraduate Sexology Association of Central China Normal University in Wuhan was told the CCP suspects “foreign infiltrations” when sex is studied.
by Chen Tao
On September 25, 2021, Bitter Winter published a report of a conversation between a well-known sexology professor, Peng Xiaohui, and student cadres of the Undergraduate Sexology Association of Central China Normal University (CCNU) in Wuhan. In this conversation, Peng asked students to “resist the infiltration of extreme feminism” and comprehensive sex education models from the West, and asked them to support the leadership of the CCP in the study of sexology. However, Bitter Winter has recently learned that after Professor Peng’s demands to support the authoritarian rule of the CCP and to distance themselves from Chinese feminist activists and LGBT advocates, the Undergraduate Sexology Association of CCNU ceased its activities and was eventually disbanded in October 2022 under direct pressure from the university.
Several students at Central China Normal University(CCNU) who have ties to the Undergraduate Sexology Association of CCNU revealed to Bitter Winter the full story of the incident. On the morning of October 6, 2022, Yao Ke, deputy secretary of the CCP Committee of the School of Life Sciences at CCNU, had a conversation with Professor Peng Xiaohui, who had retired but was still serving as a mentor for the Undergraduate Sexology Association of CCNU, and asked the association to suspend its activities.
In this conversation, Yao Ke mentioned three reasons for suspending the activities of the association. First, the tension between China and the United States or the West, and the serious infiltration of domestic college student associations by foreign forces and agents. Second, college student associations must be managed by the president’s office and faculty. Third, the mentor must be an active, not retired, faculty member of the department where the association is located. The final conclusion of this conversation was that the Undergraduate Sexology Association of CCNU should suspend its activities and re-apply for approval “after the situation has eased.”
After this conversation, the student cadres of the Undergraduate Sexology Association of CCNU quickly forwarded the content of the conversation to the QQ (an instant messaging portal) group of the association in the afternoon, and said that the association will not dissolve the QQ group of members during the suspension of activities, but will change the group into a sexual science course group to continue to learn about sexology, mainly based on the live broadcast and courses of Professor Peng Xiaohui. At the end of this statement, the student cadres did not forget to continue to “express loyalty” to the CCP, saying that the association “adheres to the Party as the center, adheres to the leadership of the Party, follows the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and will continue to do this in the future.”
When the internal notice of suspension was first issued, there were still members of the Undergraduate Sexology Association of CCNU who hoped that one day the association would resume its activities in the future, but this hope was soon dashed. On October 17, 2022, the Student Association Guidance Center of CCNU officially published a notice online, announcing that the Undergraduate Sexology Association of CCNU “will be cancelled after the affiliated units and student associations will apply for it.” The notice also asked the association to “dissolve all existing organizations and not to carry out activities in the name of a student association” after a three-day public notice period. This marked the official dissolution of the Undergraduate Sexology Association of CCNU.
A graduate of CCNU who used to be a member of the Undergraduate Sexology Association there told Bitter Winter that the university’s reason for asking the association to disband is ridiculous. “First of all, the School of Life Sciences is not without other teachers engaged in sex science-related research. Even if Professor Peng retired, you can let other teachers serve as mentors. Secondly, the current president of the Sex Science Association is certainly not a student of the School of Life Sciences, but there are other students of the School of Life Sciences in the association, and it is entirely possible to choose someone to be the president among these students. Finally, the student associations of CCNU have long been cut off from outside funding at the request of the university, and Professor Peng has always asked the association to ‘love the country and love the Party,’ how can there be the problem of infiltration of foreign forces?”, he said.
The graduate also said that although he did not share the political views of Professor Peng Xiaohui’s about the CCP, he was positive about the society’s ongoing efforts to popularize sexual science among students: “The Undergraduate Sexology Association of CCNU was established in 2000, and was the first student association on the subject of sexology in China’s universities, and has been a pioneer in the field of sexual science popularization. Now the university is trying to dissolve it with catch-all political considerations, which will be a great loss for the field of sexology in China.”
Bitter Winter also learned that after being asked to cancel the association, the official QQ number of the Undergraduate Sexology Association of CCNU was also set to be invisible to visitors, seemingly because somebody did not want the outside world to access the popular content on sexuality science it had published in the past. It is impossible to tell whether this was the association’s own decision or the result of pressure from the university.
Just as many Three-Self churches have been suppressed by the CCP because of their Christian beliefs despite their stated “love for the country and the Party,” the Undergraduate Sexology Association of CCNU, which claims to “support the CCP,” has also become the target of suppression by the university. Does this mean that the study of sexology itself has become as “sensitive” as Christianity in the eyes of the CCP? This is an interesting question.