An academic at Shanghai's East China University of Political Science and Law who proposed scrapping compulsory courses in Marxism says he was told by the Ministry of Education that his proposal does not conform to laws and regulations.
Dr Zhang Xuezhong wrote to Education Minister Yuan Guiren on May 13, proposing that courses like Marxist Philosophical Theory, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory be removed from the required curriculum for students. He also suggested scrapping the politics test in the entrance examinations for universities and graduate schools.
He said the moves were needed to respect people's 'sovereignty' by allowing freedom of thought.
Every university student must study Marxism and every applicant for graduate schools must pass an exam on it. The Communist Party says Marxism is one of the four basic principles that it must adhere to.
Zhang said such compulsory education could not lead people to truly accept the content, and would merely stifle their moral development and belittle their dignity. He said it also violated the constitution, which stipulates that citizens have freedom of thought, speech and religion.
In a reply early last month, the ministry said Zhang's proposal was not in line with the 'requirements stipulated from the country's laws and regulations'. The letter also mentioned that copies had been sent to Shanghai's Education Department and Zhang's university.
Zhang said the fact the ministry replied to him was a positive development. However, he added: 'The ministry does not list which law or regulation my suggestions violate.'
He said he might take his proposal to the National People's Congress.