Very strongly support, strongly support, not sure, strongly disagree, or very strongly disagree:
- Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era must be the guiding ideology of the Party and nation.
- The U.S. incited the U.S.-China trade war just so it could restrain China and protect its global economic monopoly.
- Xi Jinping is a leader whose heart was forged by noble struggle.
As the ghastly “Two Sessions” Rap burped out by state media news outlet Xinhua made clear, the National People’s Conference (NPC) is not simply a rubber-stamping parliament but an opportunity to trumpet the CCP’s tune to an attentive, global audience.
Selecting rap as the medium of choice, moreover, even as the January 2018 crackdown on the genre remains in force, falls in in line with broader state-sponsored efforts to entice a domestic and global millennial audience by putting out “patriotic raps” — from Chengdu’s biggest embarrassment, CD Revolution, rapping about South China Sea disputes, to U.S.-China artist collaborations on a piece called “I Love China.”
However, one curious survey handed out last week to some Chinese master’s and Ph.D. students at Peking University, recognized by many as the only “free-thinking” university in China, suggests that the NPC could also become a pretext for conducting a yearly check-up on the state of China’s most precious elite students.
According to an inside source at PKU, the survey, entitled “The condition of university students’ development” (高校生发展状况 gāoxiàoshēng fāzhǎn zhuàngkuàng), was only given to a few members of each class in every department. One could speculate this is because the survey’s contents, if forcibly shoved onto the desk of every PKU student, would incite the displeasure of a large fraction of the student body that holds strongly liberal values. The selective distribution of these surveys seems to have flown under the radar of many: the issue was absent from any of the threads on the university’s discussion forum or BBS.
Strangely, rather than ask questions about the student’s mental health, career plans, etc., the survey seemed to be a poorly disguised interrogation of the student’s political loyalty. Unsurprising, given that the source also confirmed the survey was administered by the PKU Communist Youth League branch.
Another inside source at PKU sent me some screenshots of the survey, which has blatant pandering to Xi Jinping and the CCP more akin to the groveling some state media reports engage in rather than a real question.
And so, in the spirit of celebrating yet another one of the Party’s hilarious initiatives to influence Chinese youth, here are some selected translations of the propagandistic survey:
Question 4: President Chairman Xi Jinping, in your eyes, is (choose from: Definitely agree, very much agree, not clear, don’t really agree, definitely do not agree):
1) An entrepreneurial leader
2) A leader whose heart was forged by noble struggle
3) A tireless official working for the happiness of the people
4) A strategist willing to undertake the responsibility of reforming and developing the country
5) A commander-in-chief that remodeled the army and national defense
6) The leader of a big nation on an international stage
7) The head architect for realizing modernization for a new era
Question 5: Your position with regards to the following viewpoints is (choose from: Very strongly support, strongly support, not sure, strongly disagree, very strongly disagree):
1) We must always persist in relying on Marxism for guidance
2) Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era must be the guiding ideology of the Party and nation
11) Multi-party Western democracy is not suited to China
12) The U.S. incited the U.S.-China trade war just so it could restrain China and protect its global economic monopoly
Question 6: 2019 will be the 100th anniversary of May 4th. The May 4th Movement established patriotism, democracy, the May 4th scientific spirit. Your position with regards to the following viewpoints is (choose from: Very strongly support, strongly support, not sure, strongly disagree, very strongly disagree):
2) The May 4th Spirit embodies the Chinese people and nation’s pursuit of new values
3) The ideals, enthusiasm, and struggle of the youth is China’s spirit and the source of China’s vitality
4) The youth should release its passion when struggling and chase youthful ideals
5) Patriotism cannot be a mere slogan
6) The most important thing about becoming someone is knowing how to love the nation
Question 13: Regarding the important works listed below, your degree of familiarity is (choose from: Read the whole work, read part of it, have not read it):
1) The Communist Manifesto
2) Selected Works of Mao Zedong
3) Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping
4) Xi Jinping: The Governance of China
5) Xi Jinping’s Seven Years as an Educated Youth
6) The Analects
8) The Great Learning
9) The Doctrine of The Mean
This last one is particularly revealing in light of an essay published three days ago by the official WeChat account of the PKU School of Marxism. Entitled, “At the [faculty of] Marxism study Marxism, at the [faculty of] Marxism school read books,” the essay lauded Marxism majors for achieving the nerdiest of honors — highest number of entries into the library per student out of all the PKU faculties. As a January SupChina feature noted, PKU has, since the beginning of 2019, gone to great lengths to make it clear that true students of Marxism must be in the library reading books rather than outside mingling with laborers and mobilizing on their behalf.
Although it is unknown whether a similar survey was conducted in other top Beijing universities, the wording of the questions in this one make it clear that this was a litmus test of PKU’s political climate, just months before the arrival of three politically-sensitive anniversaries — the 100th anniversary of the May 4th movement, the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen uprising, and the 70th anniversary of the PRC’s founding. Tiananmen was unsurprisingly absent from the survey, but May 4th and the PRC anniversary were included in the wording of some questions.
Naturally, my source who answered the survey toed the party line and answered “strongly support” for every statement (even though I know that this person is a unflinching liberal and CCP critic).
Clearly, this survey is but a taste of the political monitoring that we will see in the coming months. PKU’s Marxist student activists may have been suppressed successfully, but the Youth League, whose members also constitute the majority of the new Marxist society, is already making moves to ensure these anniversaries are interpreted the right way.