Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping has again taken a pot-shot at western education that talks about democratic values, as he takes over the reins for the third time, tightening his grip on China's political, social, and cultural institutions. It may prove detrimental to the civil rights of Chinese people in the long term as Xi has openly called for opposing and resisting" erroneous Western views" such as constitutional government, separation of powers, and judicial independence.

The criticism of the western views from legal education in China is seen as a part of Xi's reinvigorated efforts to change the US-led world order.

Chinese efforts to diminish the US-led world order is expedited in Xi's tenure. This involves discrediting global institutions, defying prescribed international rules and norms, and rejecting liberal values.3 Calling democracy the sole legitimate form of government hurts China's ambition to reshape the world order and replace the US as the world's superpower. Tuvia Gering, a research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, said Chinese policymakers seek to make efforts that cause American decline and its ascent. "They need to lay the infrastructure for a more China-centric, or at least a less US-, Western-centric, world," he said.

The Chinese government has been subjected to criticism from the international community over the lack of democratic rights and absolute control by the China Communist Party as well as human rights violations in Xinjiang and Tibet. Thus, the Xi government find western concepts such as constitutional government, separation of powers, and judicial independence problematic.

The information disseminated to the Chinese public is subject to the government's scrutiny. However, there has been a greater intervention since Xi came to power in 2013. He has often criticised western education and values. Many professors, who talked about democratic values, were sacked or sent to jail by the Xi government. In 2015, the then-education minister Yuan Guiren said "Never let textbooks promoting Western values appear in our classes." This had come after Xi had sought more involvement of the communist party in China's universities.

Millions of Chinese went to western countries for higher education in past few decades and some of them even ended up becoming top leaders in the country.

Interestingly, about 20 per cent of 370 members of the Central Committee of China's Communist Party pursued their education in foreign countries, mostly at western universities. Even the eight Chinese leaders in the current 24-member politburo studied in western countries.

Activists and leaders from the US and several European countries have been demanding action against Beijing over alleged crimes against humanity in Tibet and Xinjiang. It often puts China in a bad light over the allegation of autocracy, police action, ethnic cleansing, religious suppression, and a crackdown on civil liberty, among others. International media is quite critical of these issues, often termed 'western propaganda' by Beijing.

It has become quite comfortable for Beijing to target western countries and values propagated by them to distract the domestic audience from the variety of thorny issues such as violations of human rights, religious freedom, autocratic rule by the communist party, and even Covid mismanagement.

The spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign ministry, Wang Wenbin, had called the allegation of atrocities in Xinjiang a western conspiracy and political tool to demean China. A Chinese Uyghur Abduweli Ayup said antiWestern sentiment is really strong in China.

"All our history we learn that China is the victim, and all those countries around us are very bad," he said.

The reiteration of anti-west remarks shows Xi has reinvigorated the efforts to the US-led world order. He seeks to dislodge the prevailing standards or replace them with Chinese ones that are endorsed by the communist party. The anti-west ideological campaign is allowing Xi to form a China-led group of nations as well as consolidate his power.

"There are nationalistic voices that are against everything - against the US is good, and are for anything that the US is against," said Gu Su, a political scientist at Nanjing University, adding, "Many of the discussions are not about the actual rights and wrongs but only about picking a side between enemies and friends."