Teachers need political, ethical bottom line

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-11-19 0:08:01

The Liaoning Daily, the leading official newspaper of Liaoning Province, published an open letter on Friday, which pointed out the problem that college teachers often defame China during their classes. The letter, which is based on the notes of journalists who were sent to sit in on classes at universities, also said some liberal arts teachers use China as a negative example when voicing their own dissatisfactions with life. This makes students feel depressed.

This open letter has generated heated discussions online. Opponents questioned the ethics of the newspaper and the authenticity of the facts in the open letter, believing that investigations into universities are the actions of a spy. This reminds people of the past political struggles within the Party over which path to take.

China had better not veer in that direction. Let us see what is really happening in college classes and how debates are sparked.

Is there really widespread China-defamation in college classes? The answer is yes. This is not an individual case, and now the problems have accumulated to the extent that they should be dealt with. 

Then should we rectify the phenomenon? It is believed that everyone has the right to criticize their country, including college teachers. But at the same time, the opinions of teachers should have political and ethical bottom lines. In all countries, the restrictions on teachers' speech are higher than for the average societal level. If teachers in Western countries advocate values that confront those of mainstream society, it will cause them serious difficulties.

It is significant that the Liaoning Daily touched upon this issue. The objections it has met reflect the public's concern.

Admittedly, Chinese society hasn't reached a consensus over this matter. "If you love China, you should criticize it" is one of the core theories promoted by liberal intellectuals. It has influenced some people, especially those in universities.

However, these views contradict China's political path and university governance principles. It is worth discussing how the media reports on this issue and how they gain understanding of most college teachers. Pointing it out is unavoidable, and solving the issue will be a core task for university governors sooner or later.

College teachers deserve praise for their educational efforts, but when they point problems out, they should also find deep-rooted reasons for these problems. Meanwhile, when tackling problems in universities, we should pay particular attention to teachers' interests and their concerns.

Posted in: Editorial

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