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Chinese Politburo Ranks Penn Second for Ideological Orthodoxy After Peking University


Images taken from China Daily, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford Lawyer Magazine under fair use. 

Credit: Ted Kwee-Bintoro

Late last week, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee released its annual ideological orthodoxy report, ranking Penn second. Penn was rated lower than Peking University but came ahead of other institutions such as Moscow State College, Kim Il-Sung University, and Columbia University.

The release of this report rounds out a tumultuous month of rankings for the University, after it was ranked tenth in Forbes’ “Top Colleges List,” second worst in free speech by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, and first on the American Medical Association’s “Most Cases of Liver Failure Under 21.”

The report praised Penn for building a strong culture of “Democrats, liberals, and other types of Marxists,” noting with approval their recent divestment from fossil fuels and strong support for student activists. “It is only through the implementation of moderate liberal reforms,” remarked officials, “that the dream of implementing socialism by 2050 will be realized.”

Students’ reactions to the news were mixed. Alice Harnwell (W ‘23), a registered Republican and Associate Vice Chair of the Junior Investment Club for Venture Capital and Wealth Mismanagement, shared concerns that the University actively suppresses right-wing opinions. 

“It seems to me that Penn simply caters to the left by shutting down all opposing viewpoints. When you censor brave, qualified conservative voices like Amy Wax just because she expresses views that you don’t like and also might be a bit racist, you start veering into Stalinist territory. I can’t think of any worse injustice that Penn has committed.

“I know someone who used to live in the Soviet Union, and he says that Penn reminds him of what life was like back then. It was my grandpa’s cousin’s friend – or was it his friend’s cousin? Anyways, socialism doesn’t work because you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

Other students disagree. James Marquez (E ‘25), a former volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign who now spends his days reposting aesthetic infographics on Instagram, spoke to us from the back of an unmarked police car.

“I think Penn cares a great deal about free speech – if it doesn’t affect their bottom line. We can have homophobes and bigots come onto campus and shout into bullhorns no problem, but as soon as someone threatens to reveal what’s going on behind the scenes, they come after you,” he shouted as the car began driving away – presumably to never be seen again.

President Liz Magill was unavailable for comment, but a press release from her office stated that Penn is “committed to upholding the ideals of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and building a moderately prosperous society.”