New regulations forbid criticism of the Communist Party and all references to religion.
by Kang Huiliang
The Beijing Municipal Commission of Education, whose regulations often become the model for other cities and provinces, enacted new rules on what materials can and cannot be used for off-campus teaching. The Commission believes that the strict rules on textbooks and other materials to be used in schools may be circumvented by introducing prohibited content in off-campus teaching and extracurricular activities.
The Commission identifies twelve “prohibited situations,” which would lead to the dismissal of the teachers and the punishment of all those involved:
“1. Slandering the image of the Party and the state, or denigrating or slandering the Party and state leaders, heroic models, or distorting the history of the Party, the history of the People’s Republic of China, the history of the People’s Liberation Army.
2. Slandering and attacking the leadership of the CCP, the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, or introducing teachings contrary to the core values of socialism.
3. Damaging national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
4. Damaging national honor and interests through materials hostile to China, insulting China, ugly to China, and other similar content.
5. Inciting ethnic hatred or ethnic discrimination, undermining national unity, violating national customs and traditions.
6. Promoting religious doctrines, religion, xie jiao, feudal superstitions, and similar.
7. Using material featuring violence, terrorism, gambling, drugs, sexual assault, obscenity, or exalting crime, and other similar content.
8. Not complying with the protection of intellectual property rights and other national laws and administrative regulations.
9. Including commercial or business advertising in disguise.
10. Low-level materials below the corresponding national curriculum standards.
11. Materials containing content that would mislead primary and secondary school students and produce undesirable behavior.
12. Any other illegal and inappropriate situations.”
In addition, materials produced abroad can only be used after an authorization is obtained.
It is clear that the crackdown on education is extending from the classroom to extracurricular activities and off-campus teaching. There too any criticism of the CCP, its leaders, and its mandatory interpretation of history is prohibited, as well as “separatism,” which means referring to Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang without strictly following the official propaganda.
Of particular interest is the total prohibition of any reference to religion, which is not limited to the usual xie jiao (movements banned as “heterodox teachings”) but is so broad to include even the five authorized religions.