All are required to embrace the mandatory, all-pervasive “love the Party” doctrine: from 3-year-olds in kindergartens to high school students.
by Wang Yong
Each Saturday afternoon, the national anthem echoes throughout one of the residential communities in Hangzhou, the capital of the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, disrupting residents’ peaceful weekend.
“It’s driving me crazy,” lamented a high school student who is a resident in the community, clearly annoyed, before walking out of his room.
“Now we’re asked to sing the national anthem in school at noon and also during the self-study time in the evening,” he complained to his mother. “Finally, I get home, and the national anthem is also played in our residential community. How come red songs are everywhere I go? They fill my mind, and I unconsciously hum them; it’s impossible to erase them from my head. I’ve become a little neurotic and can’t quiet down to do my homework.”
The boy’s mother was at a loss; she didn’t know how to help her son, as she was also suffering from the constant intrusion by patriotic songs in her daily life.
“The Communist Party is really crazy,” the mother told Bitter Winter. “These red songs are sung everywhere – at school, at work, and on the streets. Social media is full of red songs and propaganda. Even when people want to enjoy some relaxing music on the radio while driving, they get patriotic songs instead. We, adults, are overwhelmed, and so are our children.”
“Revolutionary traditional education must start from children,” proclaimed President Xi Jinping. “We should not only pay attention to indoctrinating them with knowledge but should also strengthen the cultivation of sentiment in them so that the red gene seeps through their blood and penetrates their hearts.”
The president’s initiative to push the “red culture” education is being implemented in full force; cultivating patriotic, “Party-loving” sentiments in young people has become one of the primary goals for the current regime.
The Education Bureau of Jiaozhou city in the eastern province of Shandong compiled a middle school textbook titled “Pass on Red Genes and Build up Young Strength.” Its preface reads: “Instructed by Xi Jinping’s thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era […] guide students to strengthen ‘Party and country-loving’ sentiments, resolutely obey and follow the Party, so that elevated ideals and beliefs can be deeply rooted in their minds.”
The color red has become especially prevalent this year – the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China was celebrated on the National Day, October 1, with propaganda and ideologically-themed activities permeating people’s lives.
A parent of a pupil from the southeastern province of Jiangxi told Bitter Witter that for the National Day, children were assigned for homework to watch the military parade and listen to Xi Jinping’s speech. “Parents were asked to take photos and share them with the class. Those children who failed to accomplish this task could be physically punished,” the parent said.
Shockingly, toddlers must accept the “red culture” education from their first days in kindergartens as well.
“Even toddlers are indoctrinated, although they do not understand anything. They just weep and sob,” said a kindergarten teacher from Yichun city in Jiangxi Province. “Mandatory indoctrination is too harsh for the young kids.”
On September 28, the Cambridgeshire Bole Etiquette Kindergarten in Jiangxi’s Fengcheng city held a parent-child activity themed “Red Army March.” Everyone was asked to wear military uniforms, with parents required to cover the expenses for the uniforms.
“This activity was held in such hot weather just to make us show loyalty to the Party,” one of the parents said. “In reality, it means nothing for the toddlers.”
Over in Changyi city, administered by the prefecture-level city of Weifang in Shandong, children in a kindergarten were assigned a National Day homework to learn the traditions of revolutionary heroes, so parents had to take their 3-year-olds to “a red education base.”
Raising the national flag and singing the national anthem is also obligatory for the young children in this kindergarten. Some parents are angered that their toddlers’ education starts with mandatory indoctrination. They believe that this is a regress to the times of the Cultural Revolution.