Chinese President Xi Jinping (C, rear), also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, speaks to students and teachers as he addresses a meeting at Peking University (PKU) in Beijing, capital of China, May 2, 2018. Xi made an inspection tour of PKU on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
BEIJING, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for building world-class universities with Chinese characteristics to nurture people well-prepared to join the socialist cause.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the statement during an inspection tour of Peking University (PKU), ahead of China's Youth Day and the 120th anniversary of PKU, both falling on May 4.
On behalf of the CPC Central Committee, he extended festive greetings to PKU staff and students, alumni at home and abroad, as well as young people of all ethnic groups and youth workers in China.
Briefed about the latest development of the university, Xi, accompanied by Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, acknowledged that PKU had notably enhanced its academic capacity and influence under a clear development blueprint since the 18th CPC National Congress.
Noting that the development of universities and the nation complement each other, Xi stressed that more efforts should be spent on nurturing world-class universities, but foremost with Chinese characteristics.
Learning about the university's latest research achievements in science and engineering, Xi noted that innovation was the most powerful engine of development and most essential element of a country's national strength and core competitiveness.
He said that universities and their academic faculty, as a key part of the country's innovation system and task-force, should enhance integration among different disciplines, offer more support for interdisciplinary researches and scientists in cutting-edge areas and cultivate more leading scientists and world-class research teams.
PKU is the cradle where Marxism started to spread in China. It has set up the first school of Marxism in the country in recent years and also in January established the research institute on Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism With Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
At the school of Marxism, Xi watched an exhibition and learned about the research and teaching of Marxism and the thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.
He said a university's school of Marxism should follow a clear-cut political orientation and teaching principles -- summarized as "taking Marxism as its surname and talking about Marxism."
Xi said Marxism should be consolidated as the guiding ideology and promoted in campuses, classrooms, and among students.
He later joined a group of Chinese and foreign students discussing topics related to interpreting the "new era."
"You are a firm Marxist. Are there some good methods you use to study Marxism?" the students asked.
Xi shared his experience. He also told the foreign students that to understand China, they must understand Chinese history, culture, thought and development stages. In particular, they must understand Marxism in contemporary China.
Xi said PKU was the first in China to disseminate Marxism and do its research, playing a key role in the spread of Marxism in China and the CPC's founding.
He said the year 2018 marked the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth and the 170th anniversary of the publication of the Communist Manifesto.
"Our best commemoration is to do a good job in studying, promoting and implementing the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress and the thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era which embodies Marxism in contemporary China," Xi said.
He encouraged serious studies on socialism with Chinese characteristics in connection with changes in the Party, the country and the world to produce more influential and convincing research results.
At the end of his inspection, Xi outlined work in fundamental areas as priority to build world-class universities with Chinese characteristics.
The right political direction should be upheld, Xi said, urging persistent efforts to foster and promote core socialist values, and encourage university staff and students to have faith in, actively promote and practise these values.
The confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics should help us build the confidence in developing world-class universities with Chinese characteristics, Xi said.
Xi also stressed efforts to train competent teachers and establish a system for cultivating talent.
The Party leadership should be upheld. A number of world leading science and technology professionals, young scientists and engineers, and innovating teams should be trained. Major breakthroughs in pioneering basic research and original innovations are aimed for, Xi said.
Xi encouraged young people to be loyal to the country and the people, learn the history of the nation, inherit Chinese culture, have national pride and cultural confidence, and closely link their ideals to the future of the motherland.