IMAGINE a scenario where children were taught the thoughts of Boris Johnson or Nicola Sturgeon as part of their school lessons? It is now reality in China.


How so?

China’s Ministry of Education has announced that it will incorporate into its national curriculum President Xi Jinping’s set of policies, “Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” - abbreviated to “Xi Jinping Thought” - educating young people from primary school through to university.


What are the policies?

The ideas were taken from the speeches and writings of President Jinping, which formed a blueprint toward the consolidation of Communist rule, before being officially incorporated into the Chinese Communist Party’s constitution in 2018. As it is, his ideas appear everywhere in China, from billboards to newspapers.


And now they will be taught in lessons?

The education ministry said the action is being taken to help “establish Marxist belief” in China’s young people, with the goal being to encourage them to support the ideology, the ruling Chinese Communist Party - 100 years old in 2021 - and China.


It’s hard to imagine happening here?

Indeed, it is unlikely any “Thought” doctrine of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s or First Minister Nicola Sturgeon being officially taught in schools would be supported.


But it is nothing new in China?

The practice dates back to the era of Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he ruled from 1949 until his death in 1976, with students long expected to learn the thoughts of their leaders.



The Ministry of Education said in its statement that it wants to “cultivate the builders and successors of socialism with an all-round moral, intellectual, physical and aesthetic grounding”. The guidelines state lessons will ask young pupils to “resolve to listen to and follow the Party” and new teaching materials will aim to “cultivate patriotic feelings”. Other lessons will include labour education to “cultivate hard-working spirit” and lessons on national security.


The “Thought” focuses on certain issues?

It has 14 main principles to reinforce its ideals, including "upholding core socialist values", "ensuring harmony between humans and nature”, emphasising “absolute authority of the party over the people’s army” and "pursuing a holistic approach to national security". Its eight "fundamental issues" include making China "moderately prosperous" through "socialist modernisation" building China into a "great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of the century.”


As for Jinping?

The president - who has been in place since 2013 - pledged in a speech to mark the party's centenary last month to "enhance" the party and strengthen the unity of China's people. His own position looks strong, with him likely to rule indefinitely after presidential term limits were abolished in 2018.


The latest development points to his power?

Of all of China's past leaders, it is only Mao, Deng Xiaoping - who ruled from 1978 to 1989 - and Xi who have had their own doctrines published with their names, with Deng's released posthumously.