A recent trend has come to light in China as students denounce their professors before college administrators. Consequently, several professors have lost their positions and many in the academic community have since become leery about what they say to their students.
The vice president of Renmin University, Wu Xiaoqiu, recently spoke at the School of Finance 2018 graduation ceremony. In his speech entitled “Stick to the Baseline of Your Life,” Wu urged students not to seek a living as professional informers:
“The baseline of life is the lowest point of morality, conscience, or humanity.” He particularly emphasizes the baseline of morality, which can also be considered the baseline of human conscience. He points out three rules to keep the baseline of morality: The first rule is no lying. The second rule is don’t be underhanded. The third rule is don’t act selfishly.”
Among the three rules, the second rule was highlighted by Wu because people have to be honest, frank, and open. A sneaky person is usually an opportunist with a distorted soul and mind. Wu went on to say:
“Clear and bright eyes are the reflection of your soul and mind. It is the meaning of the Chinese idiom: The gentleman is candid, while the evil person is jealous.”
The positive response on social media to Wu’s speech is related to several recent incidents in China whereby students reported their professors to administrators. In June, Yu Shengdong, a 71-year-old professor at Xiamen University, criticized corrupt government officials during a class and was reported by students to administrators, leading to his dismissal. According to Hong Kong’s Mingpao, Yu taught classes on international trades and world economics, which were very popular. So much so that several hundreds of students showed their support for him and demanded that the school withdraw his dismissal.
Another event took placed in September 2017 when Xu Chuanqing, an associate professor of Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, stated in class: “Chinese students are not as diligent as Japanese students, thus, Japan will become a more advanced country than China.” When students reported Xu’s statement to university administrators, he was disciplined.
A Beijing historian, Zhang Lifan, commented on these incidences: “The higher authorities intentionally promote this kind of culture on campuses to prevent students from having independent thoughts.”
Translated by Jean Chen