01/30/2015, 00.00
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Chinese government attacks textbooks that promote Western values

For Education Minister Yuan Guiren, high schools and universities should shun or ban textbooks that promote ​​"non-Chinese" values. Previously, President Xi Jinping had also attacked freedom of thought. Teachers who speak out are hounded, fired and even jailed.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Chinese universities should shun textbooks that promote Western values, maintain political integrity and keep criticism of China's leaders or political system out of the classroom, said Chinese Education Minister Yuan Guiren in a recent statement widely covered in local media.

Yuan's comments came at an educational forum, Xinhua reported. According to the news agency, the Education minister said that tertiary education institutions should "never let textbooks promoting Western values appear in our classes".

For him, "slander[ing] the leadership of the Communist Party of China, smear[ing] socialism or violat[ing] the country's constitution and laws must never appear or be promoted in college classrooms".

Late last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping himself called for greater ideological supervision in universities, urging the Communist Party to step up its "leadership and guidance", and "improve the ideological and political work" that it must perform in society.

Clearly, Xi means what he says. Under his rule, ideological repression has intensified compared to Hu Jintao's ten years of power. Educators have especially borne the brunt.

In December, law professor Zhang Xuehong said he was sacked by the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai after refusing to apologise for writing articles criticising the government.

In October, Peking University economist Xia Yeliang was expelled for his support of Charter 08, a pro-democracy declaration co-authored by jailed Nobel Peace Liu Xiaobo.

Also last year, prominent Uighur academic Ilham Tohti - who had urged better dialogue between Beijing and the Uighur minority in Xinjiang - was jailed for life for separatism. Several of his students were also jailed.

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