China is setting up an entirely new, mandatory way to look at the world in yet another sign that as its economy grows, the country is closing itself off from the West in a significant way.
Directives on a new way of Chinese thinking have come out in the last few weeks, and Western ideas must be shut out if that thinking is incorporated.
This is a process that is meant to seep through all parts of Chinese society. Last week the government targeted think tanks: The Communist Party announced that all such organisations around the country have until the year 2020 to become “high-end” global think tanks that have fully adopted Chinese characteristics. They should be prepared to export these ideas around the world.
“Think tanks should stick to Marxist ideology, follow the CPC’s leadership and provide intellectual support to help rejuvenate the nation,” said a report by Chinese state media agency, Xinhua.
As the think tanks are being taught how to think, the thinkers — if they happen to think outside then constraints of Marxism — are being publicly shamed.
On Sunday, Communist Party magazine Qiushi Journal openly attacked a prominent Peking University legal professor, He Weifang. He has been critical of the government — calling high profile corruption trials “satire” and argued that Chinese Communism and strong rule of law don’t mix at US institutions like Princeton University and the Brookings Institute.
He was called out by Quishi personally for his stance on China’s rule of law — a rule of law the government itself has acknowledged is weak through the creation of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign. The thing is, when He says anything about it’s not a party directive, it’s party defamation.
The Journal also attacked other legal scholars, writing:
“It will be a disaster if we fail to set up standards and a bottom line to prevent high school and university teachers spreading Western values through internet platforms to defame our communist ideology.”
Like think tanks, Chinese universities were also directed to ramp up their teaching of Marxism last week. It was all capped off on Friday, when President Xi told the Political Bureau of the Communist Party’s Central Committee what would replace all the thoughts now banished from China — an old Marxist ideology embraced by Mao called “dialectical materialism. “
Mao threw himself behind this idea in his 1937 work, On Contradiction. There he explained dialectical materialism as a way to look at the world as constantly in change from within. According to this theory, change is achieved when natural contradictions within an individual thing — a society, a person, an organisation — are worked out.
This is one way to look at the new China as a country that will rise from no one and nothing’s strength but its own. It will not change by adopting Western philosophies, or by understanding external principles. It will only rise by working out its own contradictions by itself.
Xi said during the meeting that “studying dialectical materialism and historical materialism will help CPC members get better understanding of Marxist philosophy,” according to Xinhua.
It is the party embracing this ideology that will provide guidance in working out the contradictions that have kept China in a primary stage if its development as a society, Xi continued.
Everything else is just noise.