Spy Culture Invades China’s Universities

The authoritarian regime incites teachers and students to report each other, forced to act as informers to monitor and snitch on dissidents and believers.

by Wan Zixin

College students are pledging allegiance to the country.

A university student from Inner Mongolia still suffers from what happened at the start of the fall semester last year. When the new school year started, the young woman started looking for fellow Christians, hoping to invite them to join her religious fellowship. But she was soon reported by a student informant.

The school administration frequently summoned the Christian, putting her under constant investigation, and repeatedly ordered her to write self-criticism statements. The continuous harassment has put a lot of pressure on her, resulting in the decline of her academic performance. She also suffered from the ban of her fellowship.

The young believer became very cautious when making calls to her father, also a Christian, and stayed away from her classmates, for fear that she might accidentally say something related to her faith and be reported again. She noticed that other Christian students also avoided the topic of religion, they self-censored what they said and did: even roommates could not be trusted.

A college student from the northwestern province of Shaanxi told Bitter Winter that last July, school instructors convened a meeting for dorm representatives, commanding them to disclose any information they knew about Christians living with them.

“Our teachers required us not to miss any clue and secretly keep an eye on classmates, without telling anyone,” the student said.

Monitoring teachers is an even more crucial task. A university professor who belongs to the government-approved Three-Self Church from the central province of Hubei told Bitter Winter that she was denounced because of mentioning the Bible and the Heavenly Kingdom in class. She was also investigated by the local State Security Bureau and pressured to keep to the CCP line when teaching. Later, the woman was removed from the teaching position and demoted to do menial jobs.

According to the manager of a university in the central province of Henan, over 100 teachers and students in the school have been identified as believers thanks to students’ tips-off, dormitory inspections, and investigations into what students borrow from libraries

Source: Bitter Winter