31 January 2015   2 comments

On 19 January the Communist Party of China Central Committee and State Council issued an “Opinion” on improving the quality of college-level instruction in China.  The document is a fascinating outline of a philosophy of higher education that is remarkably different from Western philosophy.  In summary, the “Opinion” outlines the following objectives [the following translation from the Chinese is a Google translation]:

First, strengthen and improve college propaganda and ideological work is an important and urgent strategic task; Second, the guiding ideology, basic principles and main tasks; three, effectively promote the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics into textbooks into the classroom into the mind; four, greatly improve the ideological and political quality of university teachers; five, growing mainstream ideological and public opinion; six, strengthen propaganda and ideological positions university management; seven, strengthen the Party’s leadership college propaganda and ideological work.

Some differences are striking and worthy of close attention.  First, the emphasis on the ideological function of higher education is something that would never be uttered in the West:  the pretense in the West is that higher education ought to be free from the routinized reasoning implicit in the idea of ideology.  Yet there is no doubt that most Western higher education is deeply rooted in liberal ideology.  Second, the admission that knowledge is distinctly cultural (“Chinese characteristics”) is at odds with the Western assumption that knowledge is universal and not culturally bound.  These differences are truly important and we as scholars should be the first to assess their validity.

The situation in Greece and its upcoming struggle with the European Union should not be viewed as an isolated case.  There are many issues facing the EU right now, and it would be a mistake to think that because of its underlying political and economic core the Union will inevitably emerge as the winning side.  It may, indeed, force Greece to back down, but the Greek issues highlight similar concerns in many other parts of the European experiment.  Indeed, there are many reasons to be concerned about the future of the Union.

One of the more immediate effects of Syriza’s success in Greece has been the increased popularity of a similarly leftist party in Spain called Podemos (“We can”).  It held a rally in Spain on Sunday that attracted a huge crowd.  Spain holds its national elections in November and some polls have Podemos already in the lead to win.  Spain has arrangements with the troika that are similar to those made with Greece.



Posted January 31, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

2 responses to “31 January 2015

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  1. Modern Chinses ideology among youth is totally adverse with what talked above. Maybe that’s why the government is starting intervene it. But as the fast spreading of information by new medias, it would be so difficult for CCP government to control ideas compare with Mao’ era.


    • You may well be correct. But I would not underestimate the power of the state. Social media is indeed resilient, but it ultimately rests upon an infrastructure (networks) that are usually controlled by the state. Time will tell, and the pursuit of freedom is a very pesky motive.


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