• Students attend a graduation ceremony in Shanghai’s Fudan University.

Students attend a graduation ceremony in Shanghai’s Fudan University. (Photo : Reuters)

Since President Xi Jinping assumed the top Beijing office in 2012, his eye has not wavered from the nation's education system--and the global media have been with him every step of the way.

Last week was no exception, as they were quick to report on Education Minister Yuan Guiren, who said that the university classroom is not a forum in which China's leadership, the Communist Party of China or China's form of socialism, can be subject to criticism.

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Yuan was speaking at a recent meeting in which the attendees were discussing the State Council's latest guideline on ideological conduct in China's tertiary educational institutions.

The minister also asserted that discussion that breaches the terms of the national Constitution, as well as any of China's laws, and teaching staff who "whine . . . air their resentments or spread negative spirits" while teaching will not be tolerated. As far as Beijing is concerned, the classroom is a "battleground" in the ideological landscape.

Since 2012, the Chinese president has not only re-established the importance of traditional Chinese culture within the parameters of Chinese communism, but has also placed firm boundaries around those parameters to fend off the influence of Western values. The position of the education system was made obvious in 2013 when a government circular prohibited all Christmas activities in Wenzhou's schools.

While many in the West are confounded by the ideological "battle" that has been waged by President Xi since 2012, the leader's actions were reaffirmed by the Global Times on Saturday:

". . . Western values opposed by Chinese authorities are mainly the Western political values, not the normal philosophy in daily life. If they infiltrate Chinese society in a large scale, they may erode the Chinese political foundations and may jeopardize the stability of the political system."

The editorial unequivocally makes it clear that Western values "can not" be assimilated into Chinese society, and that the council's guideline may actually be insufficient on China's ideological "battleground." However, the Global Times fails to state what exactly the government needs to do to be comprehensive.

While opposition to Yuan's comments has arisen within China's population, it is important for those who are unfamiliar with Chinese history and culture to pass judgment upon the process that President Xi is taking his country's education system through.

Possibly a more important question for other nations to consider is whether the latest ideological development will affect their view of an economy that they are so keen to be involved with.