Communist Party orders 'core socialist values' on the curriculum
Educational institutions - from primary schools to universities - will be a major target of a sweeping Marxist education campaign announced yesterday by the Communist Party.
The unusually detailed action plan released by the ruling party's General Office was seen as an attempt by party boss and President Xi Jinping to fight against public scepticism and fill a perceived moral vacuum opened by decades of breakneck economic growth.
The document called on almost every sector of society - from schools to the media to social organisations to the business community - to promote the so-called socialist core values.
The 24 values, which include prosperity, democracy, social harmony, credibility and rule of law, were detailed by last year's national party congress. The values were divided into three groups, known as the "three advocates".
"Xi is trying to leave his own legacy by pressing the whole society to embrace the 'three advocates' with specific action plans for a variety of social institutions," said Zhang Ming, a political science professor at Renmin University. "But the question remains whether the public will buy it. It is impossible to carve them into the brain."
In 2006, former party chief and president Hu Jintao similarly released a set of moral principles known as "eight honours and eight shames", which urged cadres to be patriotic, serve the people and follow science.
This latest document called for the core values to be incorporated into the education system, stressing that ideological education from primary schools to universities must be strengthened.
The mass media should be further utilised, with major broadcasters designating specific programmes for spreading socialist ideologies, as well as encouraging more public service advertisements, it said.
Zhang Lifan , a Beijing-based commentator, said the stress on ideology was triggered by controversies that have shaken the party's authority, such as the debate over constitutionalism, or making the party subject to an overarching system of laws.
"The party has lost faith among the public," Zhang said. "And the ultimate fear is that it will lose its power."