The Chinese government removed provisions for “freedom of thought” from the founding documents of three of its top universities, replacing them with a pledge to follow the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
Students at Fudan University in Shanghai have protested the move by General Secretary Xi Jinping’s government, a rare occurrence since China’s attack on pro-democracy students in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The new provision in the school’s charter calls for the university to “weaponize the minds of teachers and students using Xi Jinping’s socialism ideology with characteristics of China in the new era.” It also makes the Communisty Party committee the “core” of the university, the Guardian reported Wednesday.
One group of students filmed themselves singing the school’s anthem during their lunch break, a song that includes the phrase “freedom of thought.” (RELATED: Who’s Winning The US-China Tech Race?)
— 自由亚洲电台 (@RFA_Chinese) December 18, 2019
Others took to the Chinese social media site Weibo to protest instead, though their posts were quickly deleted. (RELATED: Taking Stock Of Chinese Political Infiltration In Honkong, Taiwan, And Australia)
“If I may dare to ask those who initiated the amendment of the Fudan University charter, how do you expect our generation of Fudan people to face our ancestors?” One person asked in now-deleted post.
China has made a point to crackdown on Western ideals of freedom throughout 2019, waging a months-long campaign against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and making global threats to protect its debated ownership of Taiwan.