To cultivate submissive followers, CCP imbues students – from kindergartens to universities – with “red patriotism” glorifying China’s revolutionary past.
by Tang Zhe
“Our China is so good, but Hong Kong is in a state of chaos. They follow capitalism, but we should follow socialism. We must support the Chinese Communist Party, uphold Marxism, and love the country and the Party,” a high school politics teacher from Fuzhou, a prefecture-level city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi, explained to his students during class in September.
“The authorities in mainland China have not reviewed textbooks in Hong Kong’s schools,” continued the teacher. “Therefore, they still teach students that the Chinese government is very bad. Hong Kong youth are disobedient to the central government.”
The teacher’s comments are reminiscent of the CCP’s mantra since the start of the pro-democracy protests: Failure to educate Hong Kong youth in patriotism, spiced with communist ideology, is the cause of problems in the special administrative region, resulting in vast numbers of young people joining the “riots.”
“Some Hong Kong independence protesters rob houses, while others attack police officers. They are so unpatriotic,” a secondary school politics teacher from Jiangxi’s Yichun city commented while showing a propaganda video to students. She added that police officers don’t attack protestors but merely defend themselves.
Some parents of the students who reported such indoctrination in schools told Bitter Winter that they were outraged by this misinformation being taught to their children. One of the parents said that the protests lasting for over five months are proof that Hong Kong residents want to live in a democratic country. “They long for freedom and defend their lawful rights and interests. But schools in mainland China always defame Hong Kong protests, misleading children and planting hatred in their minds,” the parent added.
Such concerns are not baseless. For children who still cannot tell between good from bad, inciting remarks by teachers soon find their way into their heads. “If these protestors were on the mainland, we would use tanks to crush them all,” some students commented in class.
Children throughout China are indoctrinated to hate anyone and anything that the regime designates as “enemies”: be it the protestors in Hong Kong or religion. And it is all done in the name of patriotism. “Who can save these innocent children from indoctrination, disguised as patriotic education?” a parent of another student said helplessly.
On orders from the central government, schools throughout China have been intensifying patriotic education and anti-religion propaganda since the first day of the new semester in September. Ahead of the new school year, education departments have implemented changes to school curricula and have prepared new teaching materials to “promote patriotism in children.”
In August, the Education Department of Jiangxi Province issued the Implementation Opinions on Building Curriculum Standardization for Red Culture Education in Kindergartens, Primary and Secondary Schools, and Colleges and Universities. The notice states that the Education Department has compiled a series of teaching materials, including textbooks, on “red culture” for the implementation of President Xi Jinping’s orders “to make use of the red resource, promote the red tradition, and inherit the red gene.” According to the notice, “the red culture, with ‘sinicized’ Marxism at its core, is superior to others,” and “the red gene contained in it is the genetic code of the People’s Republic of China”; it is also a precious resource to educate young people.
The main goal of the newly-compiled textbooks is to cultivate the doctrine of “love for the Party, the country, and socialism,” and to strengthen students’ willingness to inherit the “red gene,” as the obedient successors of the communist regime.
“Red stars sparkle, the red flag flies high, and the red spirit moves from one generation to the next,” reads one of the new texts for kindergartens. Teaching materials for high school students include detailed depictions of Cultural Revolution policies, like the Land Reform, that involved mass killings of landlords whose lands were redistributed to peasants, revolutionary armed struggle, and alike topics, so that students learn from the young age that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
A teacher in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China told Bitter Winter that in July, the local Education Bureau trained all secondary and primary school teachers on curriculum revisions. A lecturer at the training claimed that the reason for these revisions was that the original teaching materials on the Chinese language, literature, history, politics, and so on contained “the blind worship of foreign things and westernization ideas.” The old curriculum failed to “implement the major policies of the Party,” which has resulted in students “longing for Western freedom while ignoring patriotism.”