There were real concerns about the fees and role of tutoring firms. But as usual the CCP took the opportunity to impose more ideological control.
by Wang Zhipeng
In 2021, the CCP’s crackdown on private tutoring firms that helped China’s students pass their difficult exams managed to almost destroy a once flourishing industry.
Bitter Winter at that time reported on the new regulations. We explained that the authorities’ concern for the excessive power of these firms and the fact that some families may spend too much money on private tutoring were not invented. However, at the same time, as it always happens in China, reasonable concerns were also used as an opportunity to increase surveillance and ideological control.
The CCP felt the 2021 regulations were not enough. New, stricter regulations by thirteen authorities, including the Ministry of Education, under the title “Opinions on Regulating Non-disciplinary Off-Campus Training for Primary and Middle School Students” were enacted on November 30, 2022, published on December 28, and are now in force.
In general, the rules increase restrictions on times of tutoring (in-person class sessions should be concluded by 8:30 p.m. and online classes by 9 p.m.) and maximum fees.
They also reiterate that tutoring cannot deal with what China’s public education system considers compulsory subjects, which include ideologically sensitive matters.
But again, the opportunity for further ideological control was not lost. The rules introduce a complicated system of surveillance for private tutoring firms, but also set its standards. The authorities will check that the contents of private tutoring “adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, thoroughly implement the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, fully implement the Party’s education policy.”
Or else: those not complying will lose their license and should shut up shop. The destruction of what used to be an important Chinese business field is not important for the CCP. Ideological control is.