In China, pupils are to be taught the "teachings" of the head of state and party leader Xi Jinping in primary school.

According to a guideline by the Ministry of Education published on Wednesday, a commission of experts should decide how the ideology of the head of state and party should flow into school books.

In addition, pilot schools in elementary and middle school will test how the “theoretical and practical contributions” of Xi Jinping “can be integrated into daily lessons”.

The teaching content includes speeches that the political leader gave during on-site inspections, particularly in schools.

Friederike Böge

Political correspondent for China, North Korea and Mongolia.

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In addition, the teachers should teach their students the "historical significance" of the verbal statements and political practice of Xi Jinping.

This applies not only to political education courses, but to all subjects, including the natural sciences.

In these subjects, the teaching materials should translate the ideas and methods into a set of values, according to the guideline.

In addition, they should recognize the "truthfulness" of the Xi Jinping teachings in scientific learning.

On a par with Mao Tse-tung

The personality cult around the head of state and party is intensified again. The measures are part of an effort to put him on the same level as the founder of the People's Republic, Mao Tse-tung, in the party annals. The background to this is the party congress in the coming year, at which Xi Jinping, contrary to the customs of the party, wants to be confirmed for a third term in office. He created the conditions for this in 2018 when he pushed through a constitutional amendment and abolished the term limit.

The new guideline also includes high school and university teaching. There are already numerous faculties, chairs and research institutes that are solely dedicated to the teachings of Xi Jinping. In the future, budding engineers, physicists and physicians will also study Xi's ideas and concepts beyond the already compulsory courses in political education. For example, they should “learn the self-sacrificing attitude from Xi Jinping to make nothing of fame and fortune and to devote themselves solely to science”.

The students should also understand “the strategic importance of research and technology for the national development of the country”. This fits into a time when the Chinese leadership is in the process of forcing the country's large private technology companies to subordinate their business models to the Communist Party's development plans and to show themselves to be loyal. The new requirements for the curriculum also contribute to a further politicization of the sciences in China. As a result of the corona pandemic, researchers came under noticeable pressure to express themselves in line with the government's goals and propaganda messages.

Since Xi Jinping took office in 2012, indoctrination in Chinese schools has been gradually increased. At the same time, the authorities have made it difficult to access alternative sources of information by means of internet censorship. This has contributed to the fact that the younger generations are clearly more nationalistic than the age groups over thirty. The guidelines for elementary schools now state that a focus should be on “planting the seeds of love for the party and socialism in young minds”. Through storytelling, vivid language, and modern visual methods, the children should learn that the Party works to "make the Chinese happy and resurrect the nation."