Xi Jinping: Ideological and Political Courses Are The Key Courses to Implement the Fundamental Task of Lideshuren
Xi Jinping: Ideological and Political Courses Are The Key Courses to Implement the Fundamental Task of Lideshuren (立德树人)
8.31 Qiushi released a speech Xi Jinping gave on March 18, 2019 at a symposium for teachers of ideological and political theory classes in schools. Xi opened the speech by saying “having well-run ideology and political theory classes is a matter that I care about greatly.” He proposed that the objective of these courses is safeguarding national security and cultivating socialist builders and successors who will carry out the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Therefore, ideology and political theory courses are irreplaceable and teachers of these courses have a great responsibility.
Xi explained that as China increasingly opens up and moves closer to the center of the world stage, influences from other countries have deepened, and the struggles facing the ideological field have become more complex. In order to build socialist builders and successors, one must establish a correct view of the world, life, morals, and realize that the individual morals and the destiny of the nation and Party are closely connected. Schools are therefore at the forefront (前沿阵地) of ideological work, and can’t be thought of as ivory towers or “peach blossom gardens” (桃花源--referencing a fable in which people lived in a garden utopia unaware of the outside world).
Xi provided a list of necessary attributes for teachers of ideology and political theory courses: their politics must be strong, their feelings must be deep, their thinking must be “new” (concepts taught should be applicable to contemporary China), they must have broad vision (knowledge beyond Marxist theory), they must have strict self-discipline, and they must have positive personalities.
Xi proposed eight “unifications” that must be achieved in order to promote the reform of ideology and political theory courses:
- Unification of politics and academic rationality: While political guidance is the purpose of these courses, they should not come across as political propaganda. They must “guide students with the power of the truth” and “stand up to students’ questions of ‘why?’”
- Unification of values and knowledge: The courses cannot simply preach values without the support of “scientific knowledge.”
- Unification of “constructiveness” and “criticalness”: While the task of these courses is to transmit ideology, they must also inspire a critical spirit, an essential characteristic of Marxism.
- Unification of theory and practice: Political theory should have practical applications.
- Unification of universality and diversity: While ideology and political theory courses have universal teaching objectives and materials, they should still adapt to local conditions.
- Unification and guidance and subjectivity: Courses should maintain a balance between the teacher’s guiding role and empowering students through class discussion and debate.
- Unification of indoctrination and inspiration: While indoctrination is essential to Marxist political education, students should also be inspired by the story of the Chinese nation, the Chinese Communist Party, socialism with Chinese characteristics, Reform and Opening Up, and the New Era.
- Unification of explicit and implicit education: While some people advocate for hiding ideology and political theory courses within other courses, it is important to be confident in teaching these courses in the open. At the same time, there are ideology and political theory resources in other courses that should be tapped.
- In conclusion, Xi stressed that the Party’s leadership over ideology and political education courses is key to their success. He asked party committees at all levels to place these courses at the top of their priority lists and said that school party committees should take the lead on improving these courses.