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Chinese University Drops 'Freedom of Thought' From Charter

December 19, 2019

A leading Chinese university deleted the phrase “freedom of thought” from its charter and added a clause pledging allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party, The Washington Post reported.

The changes to Fudan University’s charter come amid a widespread crackdown on freedoms of expression in China. Some students and graduates protested the changes.

The former version of Fudan's charter asserts that “the educational philosophy of the university is academic independence and freedom of thought as extolled in the university anthem.”

The revised version states, “The university upholds the motto of ‘Rich in Knowledge and Tenacious of Purpose; Inquiring with Earnestness and Reflecting with Self-practice.’ We promote the spirit of ‘unity, service and sacrifice,’ practice earnestly patriotic dedication, academic independence, pursuit of excellence.”

Another section of the revised charter states that Fudan “adheres to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and will fully implement the party's educational policy.”

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Elizabeth Redden

Elizabeth Redden, Senior Reporter, covers general higher education topics, religion and higher education, and international higher education for Inside Higher Ed. She has more than a decade of experience as an education journalist. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.

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