Discrimination and Propaganda in the Educational System

Chapter 8, 2010 Annual Report

In addition to more severe forms of persecution, Falun Gong adherents in China continue to face systematic societal discrimination, including denial of educational opportunities and discrimination in employment. Incidents reported in 2009 included online posting of discriminatory enrollment criteria at several academic institutions, inclusion of anti-Falun Gong propaganda in primary school textbooks, and cases of practitioners facing expulsion should they refuse to denounce their faith.

 

Discrimination

Academic institutions in China, as well as municipal and provincial-level education authorities, published enrollment criteria in 2009 explicitly forbidding enrollment of individuals who have practiced Falun Gong or whose family members are Falun Gong adherents.

  • The June 29, 2008, public announcement in Hainan province concerning enrollment in military academies, public security schools, and judicial and law schools stipulated that “Candidates shall be politically disqualified” if they “have practiced Falun Gong or other illegal organizations or groups of organized crimes,” or if they “have immediate family members or close relatives that are suspects currently under criminal investigation by the authorities or hard core members of Falun Gong and other illegal organizations who refuse to change their wrong positions.” [1]
  • The 2009 enrollment charter for national defense students at Dalian Science and Industry University stipulated in its enrollment criteria that candidates must “support the party’s line, be loyal to the motherland, love the military, be willing to be dedicated to national defense, have not participated in any illegal social groups and organizations, have no connection with Falun Gong, meet the standards in the Regulations on Political Qualifications Applicable to Military Academies Enrolling Regular High School Graduates and Military Recruiting Regular College Graduates.” [2]
  • The website for Lanzhou University contains a list of frequently asked questions, including one inquiring what the admissions criteria are for aspiring military officers. The answer stipulates that, in addition to meeting academic prerequisites and being willing to serve the country, the candidate’s guardian and immediate family members must not have participated in any “illegal social organizations, particularly Falun Gong.” [3]
  • In 2009, both Beijing and Heilongjiang province published regulations on admissions at regular higher education institutions, which stipulated that individuals cannot be accepted into higher education if they have “opposed the basic principles of the Constitution or participated in xie jiao [evil religions, also translated as evil cults; in the language of Chinese officialdom, the term xie jiao is used as a code for Falun Gong and other banned religious groups.]” [4]

Over the last decade, hundreds of Falun Gong adherents in China have reported being forced by school administrators to sign declarations denouncing their spiritual beliefs. Individuals who continue practicing Falun Gong and/or opposing the ban may face expulsion or imprisonment.

  • Ms. Cao Rui, is a 20-year-old Falun Gong practitioner from Jidong county in Heilongjiang province. She reported that when she was 12–13 years old, school teachers taunted and threatened her physically because of her family’s practice of Falun Gong. In November 2007, one of Ms. Cao’s teachers attacked Falun Gong in the classroom, prompting her to debate with the teacher. She proceeded to bring leaflets about the persecution of Falun Gong to school and distribute them to some classmates. When the school administrators learned of her activities, they called a school assembly where they required all students to sign statements denouncing Falun Gong in December 2007. The school officials placed personal responsibility upon each teacher to force the students to comply. Ms. Cao refused and was expelled from the school on Dec. 19, 2007. (She was later able to complete high school at another institution).

Propaganda

Primary school textbooks, too, advance the Chinese Communist Party’s line on Falun Gong as a social menace. In a 2009 grade 6 textbook from Zhejiang province, for instance, there is reportedly a section dedicated to explaining the illegality of Falun Gong and the risks of reading Falun Gong materials. The textbook encourages children to report Falun Gong adherents to the authorities. In other parts of the country, the 6-10 Office was reported to have actively engaged in spreading its anti-Falun Gong message in schools and universities, complete with assignments to write a comic book on the topic over summer break. Other examples cited by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) include:

  • “In May 2009, the Xinjiang Agricultural University initiated a 10-month campaign to ‘build a durable ideological line of defense’ to ‘guard against and resist’ possible ‘sabotage and infiltration’ by Falun Gong.”
  • “In June, students and teachers from middle schools all across Panji district in Anhui’s Huainan city participated in a ‘surge of anti-cult education’ that ‘raised their political consciousness.’”
  • “In July, elementary school students in Leshan city, Sichuan province, attended a ‘lively’ speech from the local Party secretary and viewed an ‘anti-cult warning film.’” [5]

 


[1] Examinations Bureau of Hainan Province; http://ea.hainan.gov.cn/phtml/2008/06/30/1529.html

[2] Dalian University of Technology; http://recruit.dlut.edu.cn/Display.aspx?NewsID=259

[3] Lanzhou University; http://xpb.lzu.edu.cn/ReadNews.asp?NewsID=550

[4] Beijing Education Examination Authority, http://www.bjeea.cn/218425681439096832/20090402/37700.shtml; Xinhua, May 20, 2009; http://news.xinhuanet.com/edu/2009-05/20/content_11404791.htm

[5] CECC 2009, p. 123

 

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