China’s universities “are on the front lines of an effort to promote the thinking of President Xi Jinping to China and the world”, a news agency has reported.
Reuters reported on the government-led initiative started last year to create study centres devoted to the thought of China’s president, finding that “since October, at least 30 Xi Thought research institutes have been established in universities, governments and ministries, while lecture courses for students, officials and ordinary people have been organized across the country”.
China’s parliament recently approved plans to scrap term limits on the presidency, meaning that Mr Xi could rule for life.
And Mr Xi’s thought has been starting to supplant the Marxism that has traditionally been part of compulsory political education classes in universities.
“Mandatory ideology classes have been updated by the universities in response to instruction from the leadership that Xi’s ideas must enter the textbooks, classrooms and minds of students,” Reuters said.
The agency described Xi Thought, the collection of his public statements, as “an all-encompassing guide for China’s professed aims of becoming an economic and military power by 2050, under the strict control of the ruling Communist Party”.
It added that “the most prestigious annual grants in China, the National Social Sciences Fund, in June announced that funding for 2018 was awarded to 90 research projects with Xi’s name in the title, 240 projects on the ‘new era’, a signature Xi slogan, and dozens more on other Xi Thought-related policy initiatives”.