China's Communist Party brings 'freedom' to classes in song: report

China's Communist Party will introduce socialist values including "freedom" and "democracy" into the classroom via songs and poetry, state media said Wednesday, as the party strives to maintain its legitimacy. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
China's Communist Party will introduce socialist values including "freedom" and "democracy" into the classroom via songs and poetry, state media said Wednesday, as the party strives to maintain its legitimacy. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - China's Communist Party will introduce socialist values including "freedom" and "democracy" into the classroom via songs and poetry, state media said Wednesday, as the party strives to maintain its legitimacy.

China has "lost its moral compass" during three decades of economic rise, sparking the national campaign to rebuild faith, the Global Times newspaper said, citing the official Xinhua news agency.

Core socialist values and goals including "democracy", "equality", "justice" and "freedom" will be introduced into education, the newspaper added, citing experts.

"These values can be promoted by encouraging composing songs and writing poems about core socialist values," it said.

The new campaign will also encourage students to memorise the values and will amend textbooks on Chinese history and morality to include them, the report said.

The Communist Party has long maintained tight control in China, nipping in the bud any public challenge to its authority and muzzling the media.

It also attempts to boost support through the education system with a curriculum that focuses heavily on China's achievements since it took power in 1949, and the failures of previous leaders.

The Global Times - which has close ties to the party - said earlier this year that Beijing had demanded government officials be prevented from "being disoriented and losing themselves" to the influence of Western ideals.

The party circular insisted that officials reconfirm their faith in "socialism with Chinese characteristics" through an emphasis on "deepened education" in Marxist principles, the reports said.

Western ideals included constitutional democracy, universal values and civil society, it added.

The huge party, which was founded 93 years ago, periodically undergoes ideological spasms, often when in the midst of intense internal political disputes or when leaders feel China is under threat.

President Xi Jinping, party general secretary since November 2012, has vowed to restore China to greatness. He is simultaneously pushing a much-publicised campaign to cleanse the party of corruption.