China does a lot of despicable things. It tries to cover up its involvement in a global pandemic that has killed millions and caused untold amounts of economic damage. It flaunts the international order by building military bases on islands claimed by other sovereign countries. It conducts industrial espionage to steal from others what it is unwilling or unable to create for itself. It commits genocide against religious and ethnic minorities within its borders.
One commendable thing it does is protect its culture and values from the moral relativism currently ravaging the West, and President Joe Biden should take notes.
There are no drag queen story hours in Beijing, Chinese athletes don’t kneel when their national anthem is played, and Chinese schoolchildren aren’t taught to hate themselves or their country. And the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) takes careful steps to ensure that those things don’t happen.
Chinese regulators banned foreign investment in private education and tutoring companies, which have become highly popular among Chinese parents due to the country’s rigorous and extremely competitive higher education system, last week. The move came amid a flurry of other crackdowns on private companies, including a major shake-up of how China’s tech giants operate, but this one may indicate a major concern for CCP leadership.
Foreign money in education means foreign influence in education. China has had amazing success subverting American education with Confucius Institutes on college campuses, subtly disseminating CCP propaganda under the guise of harmless cultural exchange. Now, they want to make sure that America can’t do the same. Without foreign influence in education, Chinese students won’t run the risk of being exposed to pesky Western ideas like freedom of speech, freedom of association and capitalism — or potentially more dangerous ideas like feminism, LGBT rights and critical race theory (CRT).
Chinese schoolchildren are taught to love their country. Students are never allowed to forget the “Century of Humiliation” in which a decadent and weakened imperial China was ruthlessly taken advantage of by the European colonial powers during the 19th and early 20th centuries. They are told that China must protect itself from Western encroachment to ensure that such a calamity never happens again. China’s compulsory “patriotic education” program, put in place in 1994, stresses Chinese exceptionalism, portraying the country as a defender of civilization and the rightful leading nation in the world.
Many American schools, in contrast, have adopted CRT into their curriculum, pitting students against each other based on race and teaching that America is an irredeemable cesspit created and maintained by racism and bigotry.
And China has enacted reforms dedicated to “cultivating students’ masculinity,” even as the number of genders in the United States seems to multiply with no end in sight. Chinese lawmakers said in March that a decline in traditional “manhood” has “led to social and family problems” and proposed “gender-differential” education to “make boys more like boys and girls more like girls.” One Chinese official laid out a policy proposal last year designed to “prevent the feminization of male youths,” which he called an existential threat. China’s education ministry also called on schools to “vigorously” develop sports and fitness programs for young men.
Meanwhile, American universities are fixated on tackling “toxic masculinity” and pushing back against “unattainable gender norms.”
The CCP knows all too well how important it is to control education and the youth of the nation.
Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese communists during the Chinese Civil War and the de facto ruler of the country from 1949 to 1976, unleashed the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s to weed out political opponents and cement the younger generations’ loyalty to the regime. The movement attempted to purge any remaining vestiges of capitalist thought left over from the nationalist government, but it also targeted traditional Chinese values that were considered incompatible with communism.
Students were indoctrinated to question the values and loyalty of their teachers and parents, and encouraged to turn them in if they articulated any disagreement with communist orthodoxy. This in itself was a major shift in Chinese society, since traditional Chinese values taught that children should never question their parents or educators. They were instructed to eradicate the “Four Olds”: old ideas, old culture, old habits, and old customs. Some traditional values still survive, but they have been thoroughly integrated into Chinese communist ideology and are subservient to the will of the state.
Hundreds of thousands of teachers were persecuted by the government after their students turned on them, and several thousand were killed in massacres orchestrated by the Red Guards, a paramilitary organization primarily made up of students.
The CCP was able to destroy traditional values that had been the bedrock of Chinese society for thousands of years in the span of a single decade because they won the minds of China’s youth. The party knows exactly how dangerous new, radical ideas can be, and they are determined not to let a new Cultural Revolution — one based on CRT and “woke” ideology — threaten their position of power.
Biden currently governs a country splitting at the seams over issues concerning CRT, gender roles, and whether flying an American flag is racist. Chinese propaganda machines embedded at American universities and determined to deepen these fissures in our society certainly don’t help matters.
In response to these problems, he should seriously consider adopting similar programs to the Chinese to combat the dual threat of Chinese influence in our education system and woke ideology in the classroom. We don’t have to teach that it’s America’s Manifest Destiny to rule the world or that racism doesn’t exist — it’s much easier than that.
Get rid of CRT in schools, block Chinese propaganda on college campuses, teach kids that America and its founding principles are fundamentally good and worth defending, introduce a robust physical education program to get kids back into shape, and stop trying to suppress what makes boys, well … boys.
While American students are learning about oppression hierarchies and the dangers of toxic masculinity, Chinese students are learning advanced calculus and computer engineering. China has the foresight to protect its students from harmful ideologies, and that’s why it will gain a decisive advantage over the U.S. if we don’t implement similar measures. If Biden wants to live up to his promise to be a uniter and start to heal the wounds caused by hyper-partisanship and puritanical wokeism, he may want to consider taking a page from China’s playbook.
Hayden Daniel is the opinion editor at the Daily Caller.