03/17/2015, 00.00
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China, government to universities: No more foreign books or values

A circular from the Ministry of Education orders higher educational institutions to carry out a survey on "how foreigners textbooks are used, whether these are really useful and how they were obtained." In a campaign against "Western values in universities" and in favor of a "better representation of the Communist Party and its leaders."

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The national universities will have to answer a questionnaire on the use of foreign textbooks in faculties. The order is contained in a circular issued by the Ministry of Education, demanding universities to carry out a survey on "how foreign textbooks are used, whether these are really useful and how they were obtained." The order is part of a broader campaign against "Western values" launched in January 2015 by the Minister Yuan Guiren.

Subjects regarded as "sensitive" by the government are being particularly targeted. These include journalism, law, politics, sociology, history, economic and financial management, philosophy. To counter the "the distortion of these subjects" universities were told to step up propaganda and teaching efforts in Marxism and Chinese socialism to ensure such values "get into the students' heads".

During a speech on the situation of national education, last January 29, 2015, Yuan said universities must exert tighter control over the use of imported textbooks "that spread Western values".They must also safeguard their political integrity and keep criticism of national leaders or the political system out of the classroom". The ministry has moved on direct mandate of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who at the end of 2014 called for "greater ideological supervision of universities" and strongly urged the authorities of the Party to "improve the leadership and CCP's grip on the people".

The survey imposed by the Ministry regards the major state universities - nearly all based in Beijing - and colleges of the provinces of Shaanxi, Hubei, Fujian, Anhui, Tianjin, Hainan and Jilin. This decision, says Xian's Jiaotong University website, "will help to further strengthen and improve the regulations on the use of foreign textbooks".  "Textbooks", specifies the circular, "are those published abroad, photocopies of works purchased abroad and translated versions of works that are not Chinese".


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