Malicious attacks on China’s patriotic education law aim to ‘weed out’ patriotism
Published: Jun 29, 2023 09:18 PM
Three men hold Chinese national flags at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Tuesday after the flag-raising ceremony. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Three men hold Chinese national flags at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Tuesday after the flag-raising ceremony. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Imagine if a government were to introduce legislation against drug dealing, who would feel the most frightened and troubled? The most likely answer would be drug dealers. In the case of China's recent legislative push for the spirit of patriotism in the country, some forces have exposed themselves as those "drug dealers."

This week, a draft patriotic education law was submitted to China's National People's Congress Standing Committee for its first reading. Several external voices subsequently attempted to give such an effort a bad name in different ways. Some criticized the draft for "brainwashing younger generations," some said it was "forcing people to love tyranny," and others saw it as a way to "suppress dissent." 

Patriotic education is an important component of national education in almost all countries. If we observe the global scenario, we will find that it is a common practice in many nations to promote and guarantee patriotic education through the rule of law.

For example, a study reveals that the US has more than 600 laws and regulations and more than 1,700 provisions related to patriotism, forming a patriotism-revolved legal system consisting of federal legislation, state legislation, and presidential executive orders to ensure the cultivation of patriotism. 

However, when it comes to China, every aspect of a similar legislative move is interpreted through a distorted lens. It is extremely absurd and malicious for some external forces to use such a double standard.

Patriotism has been deeply rooted in Chinese culture since ancient times. It is regarded by the Chinese people as one of the most important traditional virtues and is taught to children generation after generation. The smear campaign against Chinese patriotic education legislation is clearly part of the US and Western information warfare to erase such a root of Chinese culture from the nation's ideological sphere.

Moreover, as the Chinese people love their country, they actually support the strengthening of patriotic education. And most of them would likely support a legal guarantee of patriotic education. This puts to rest the claims that the Chinese government is "imposing patriotism on the people."

With the development of the times, patriotic education in China is facing new challenges. On one hand, various instances of historical nihilism can be observed in China's education. Since education is one of the most prominent areas targeted in information warfare against China, certain loopholes in the country's current education system have been exploited as an entry point for ideological infiltration.

On the other hand, with the widespread use of the internet in China, a multitude of information sources have emerged in the country's cyberspace, leading to a diverse and confusing range of voices. This allows for the dissemination of false values and turns Chinese cyberspace into a chaotic environment. For some external forces with malicious intent, the more chaotic China's internet becomes, the better, as they seek to divide and dismantle China's mainstream ideology.

These factors have greatly impacted China's patriotic education and pose a threat to its ideological and national security. Therefore, in light of these circumstances, it is crucial to establish a strong mainstream ideology that can unite everyone, as well as a fundamental law to safeguard our confidence in the national system and culture.

Some forces in the West don't want to see China strengthening its patriotic education. Deep inside, they hope to cultivate believers in historical nihilism within China so that Western ideology can be easily imposed on the country.

These people want to eliminate patriotic sentiment in Chinese society and lead the country's mainstream ideology in the wrong direction, such as ultra-liberalism. They act as if they are "empowering Chinese people" with such values, but in reality, they just want to corrupt the thinking of the Chinese people to facilitate their future moves in information warfare.

Any force that feels uncomfortable with China's draft patriotic education law without raising any functionality issues can only prove that they are against the spirit of patriotism advocated by Chinese education. They feel targeted because this draft will hinder their efforts to discourage patriotism and threaten and challenge China's security.

"It is justified for China now to propose a patriotic education law, which will further regulate education activities in the country. Some ill-intentioned forces hyped this legislation is a crush-down on different ideologies, which is their misunderstanding and an over-interpretation," Zhu Wei, vice director of the Communication Law Research Center at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times.