In the past five years, space for public expression has been tightening in media, the arts and civil society. Education hasn’t been spared: The ruling Communist Party and congress have ordered the country’s institutions of higher learning to build themselves into bastions of socialist and Marxist ideology, while purging campuses of liberal thought and subversive foreign ideas.
Spearheading the drive is the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the party’s internal control apparatus, which, besides rooting out corruption, appears to have taken on the additional duty of enforcing political loyalty and ideological conformity in academia.
This year, the CCDI sent inspection teams to around 30 of China’s top universities. Roughly half were named and criticized for their “weak political work.”
The effect of China’s ideological tightening on international scholarship became clear in August, when Chinese censors succeeded briefly in getting the Cambridge University Press to censor articles from an online edition of its influential scholarly journal, the China Quarterly.
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