Ideo-political education in China's universities: A study of the challenges in the 1990s

Year: 2002

Author: Yang, Rui

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Since the 1990s, dramatic sea changes of world situation have again brought political education into the spotlight, echoing its "bull market" in the 1950s and the 1970s. Under this scenario, the ideo-political education in China deserves our special attention. As one of the few communist countries in the present world, China has long been seen as a propaganda state. A core part of its Leninist one-party system of government is the indisputable official ideology, which has been the dominant content of ideo-political education in Chinese universities, known as indoctrination, brain wash, propaganda and totalitarianism in the West.

Since China's adoption of the open door policy in the late 1970s, its ongoing changing situation has increasingly problematised the ideo-political education. This paper investigates the challenges faced by the ideo-political education in Chinese universities, with a focus on the 1990s. It examines the impact of some contextual factors of Chinese higher education reform, particularly the introduction of the market, on the contemporary ideo-political education in China's universities. This paper reveals that the discrepancy between the fundamental and instrumental levels of the Chinese official ideology has become increasingly prominent, and is especially reflected on the ideo-political education in universities.