Professor’s call to repeat 1950s ‘re-education’ of college graduates sparks backlash

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/7/5 22:43:43

A Peking University professor's call to repeat 1950s China history when educated urban youth were sent to countryside to gain "re-education" triggered a backlash.

Yu Hongjun, a professor at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management, said in an article that "to solve the college student employment issue, educated urban youth should be sent to the countryside or rural areas."

A campaign was conducted in China between the 1950s and 1970s when China's zhiqing, or educated youth, were ordered by Chairman Mao Zedong to "go to the countryside to receive re-education from farmers."

Although some educated youth went to rural areas as early as the 1950s, most went during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76).

The campaign changed the lives of millions of young people in China.

Yu's article was first published in a magazine in 2009 and was reposted by a WeChat account named Shuangyiliugaoxiao on Tuesday and went viral, which was viewed over 100,000 times and received more than 2,400 likes as of press time.

The article was then placed on Weibo and also received hundreds of comments.

Most netizens said they disagree with Yu's suggestion, saying the campaign is no longer compatible with the times.

The article said that to "start the campaign in the new period" not only alleviates the employment pressure but also allows college students to better know about the country and experience grass-roots life in China.

"Young people enrich their lives by experiencing rural life. I even consider it a necessary experience, but only if it is carried out on a voluntary basis," another WeChat account called Gongshiwang said, citing Deng Xiaomang, a professor at Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Global Times


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