Teachers, care. Student officer could be spying on Xi

CHENDGU (CHINA): With a neon-red backpack and white Adidas shoes, he looks like any other college student on the Sichuan University campus in southwest China. But Peng Wei, a 21-year-old chemistry student, has a special mission: he is a student and a spy. Peng is one of a growing number of student information officers who control the ideological opinions of their teachers. They are there to help eradicate teachers who show any sign of disloyalty to the president. Xi Jinping and the fault communist party .

It is our duty to ensure that the learning environment is pure, Peng said, and that teachers follow the rules. Mao Zedong It was, students are being deployed as guard dogs against their teachers, part of a radical Xi campaign to eliminate dissent and turn universities into party strengths.

The use of it has increased under Xi, China's most powerful leader in decades, with hundreds of universities now employing the practice, according to interviews with more than two dozen professors and students, as well as a review of public records.

Everyone feels they are in danger, said You Shengdong, an economics professor at Xiamen University in eastern China who was fired last year after students denounced him for criticizing one of Xi's favorite propaganda slogans.

Universities are posting advertisements recruiting students to spy on their teachers, with some aiming to have one in every classroom. In exchange, they are promised rewards like scholarships, higher grades and advancement within prestigious communist party groups. It has created a chilling effect that some have compared to the ideological purification campaigns of the decade long Cultural Revolution, in which radical students attacked Mao’s perceived enemies.

Teachers can be denounced for anything, said Tang Yun, a veteran professor of literature at Chongqing Normal University. Tang, 56, spoke from experience. While teaching a class earlier this year, he criticized a popular and popular phrase that Xi often uses: roll up his sleeves and work hard, as rude. A student complained, which led officials to strip him of his teaching credentials and reassign him to the library this spring.

The ministry of education did not respond to a request for comment. Last year he issued new rules of ethics for teachers of all levels, saying they should not do anything to contradict party authority.

Carl Minzner, a law professor at Fordham University in New York, said the increase in student informants was part of Xi's efforts to make the party a leading force in both the state and society. - Censorship so that people start thinking twice before speaking. When he takes over, this is how the collective mind of society begins to close.

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