Chinese children greeted with 'Xi Jinping thought' textbooks in schools
Beijing: Chinese pupils returned to school Wednesday with new textbooks peppered with "Xi Jinping thought", as the Communist Party aims to extend his personality cult to children as young as seven and rear a new generation of patriots.
The education ministry has said it will incorporate Xi's vaguely defined political ideology into the national curriculum, from primary schools to graduate programmes, at the start of the new school year on Wednesday.
Primary school teachers must "plant the seeds of loving the party, the country and socialism in young hearts", according to a government notice on the new curriculum.
Buses full of schoolchildren sporting shiny new trainers and red scarves over their uniforms were dropped off at school gates this morning, weighed down by rainbow-hued oversized backpacks.
The new school books are decorated with the president's pithy quotes and images of his smiling face, with elementary school students served up chapters on the achievements of Chinese civilisation and the Communist Party's role in poverty alleviation and fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lessons are interspersed with quotes from Xi on patriotism and duty, as well as anecdotes of his meetings with citizens.
"Grandpa Xi Jinping is very busy with work, but no matter how busy he is, he still joins our activities and cares about our growth," one textbook says.
Xi's thought encompasses 14 principles including "absolute Party leadership" over the military and "improving living standards through development".
It was enshrined in the constitution during a 2018 legislative meeting that abolished term limits and paved the way for him to rule indefinitely.
The principles are now cited regularly by officials in wildly varying contexts from fighting COVID-19 to literature and art, and universities have opened institutes dedicated to Xi's thought.
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