Peking University gets a new leader

Hi everyone, just a brief note from me on something I flagged earlier this week but think I may have underestimated the import of. And I also wanted to test reactions to occasional short notes from me. Let me know if this kind of thing is useful or a waste of your time, either in the comments or by replying. Thanks.

Qiu Shuiping is the new Party Secretary of Peking University. Qiu replaces Hao Ping, who is replacing Lin Jianhua as the new president of the school. This change is interesting for several reasons, starting with the official announcement:

  • The English release led with Hao becoming President, followed by Qiu replacing him as Party Secretary - Peking University appoints new president;

  • The Chinese release from the Ministry of Education led with Qiu taking over as Party Secretary, in a clear sign of who really is in charge of the school - 邱水平任北京大学党委书记 郝平任北京大学校长;

  • Qiu is a long time Beijing official with deep experience in the politics and law system, including a stint as the Party secretary of the Beijing bureau of the Ministry of State Security.

  • The Peking University leadership roles are so politically important that the changes were announced at a meeting by the deputy minister of the Organization Department Zhou Yi, the Minister of Education Chen Baosheng and Wei Xiaodong, the head of the Beijing Municipal Organization Department, according to the official Peking University release - 邱水平任北京大学党委书记 郝平任北京大学校长

Amidst the broader tightening inside China, 2019 is a year of momentous anniversaries of student movements--the 100th of the May 4 Movement and the 30th of the Tiananmen Square protests--and Peking University was at the center of both. It certainly looks like this move may be part of the broader ideological hardening underway at Peking University and at educational institutions in general.