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10/07/2020 China (International Christian Concern) – According to the Sept. 1 edition of Qiushi, a political theory journal published by the Communist Party, beginning this fall semester, 37 universities across China will launch introductory courses on Xi Jinping Thought.

These elite universities, including Peking University, Nankai University, and Tsinghua University, where Xu Zhangrun, a distinguished constitutional law professor, was briefly detained last July for criticizing Xi, will require their students to take the course.

On top of the four mandatory courses that the students already have to take at the Schools of Marxism, including those that teach classical Marxism and the thoughts of Mao Zedong, the founder of postwar China, the course on the Xi Jinping Thought will now join the line-up. This move appears to be in preparation of next July’s centennial of the formation of the Communist Party of China.

According to Nikkei Asia, the decision to require a university course enshrined with the name of the top party leader is highly unusual. Xi also awarded himself the title as the “core” of the party when he removed term limits in 2017, moves many analysts say reflected Xi’s awareness of Mao’s decades-long reign.

The academic freedom in China has been in declined thanks to Xi in recent years. His critics are often removed or deprived of retirement benefits, while there have been increased interferences in campuses on what should and should not be taught.

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