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CPC100 | SISU students flourish as voluntary storytellers of CPC history

10 November 2021 | By Huang Siyi, Yang Lan and Zhou Jiawen | Copyedited by GU Yiqing

  • Student volunteer taught students how to pronounce “the communist manifesto” in German.

  • Two boards written “foreign language institution” and “The Communist Manifesto” are hung on the wall of the classroom.

  • Volunteer from Huangpu communist youth league is telling the history of the first printing of The Communist Manifesto.

  • Students are listening to the class.

  • A student is answering the question.


tudents of Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) were active in telling the stories of history of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in their own ways to celebrate the 100 anniversary of the founding of CPC.

SISU students as CPC history tellers

In a busy day, Zhu Rongchi was discussing a new-member list and scheduling a meeting to summarize achievements of the past six months during class break. Such a day is common for Zhu who has spent most of his leisure time leading the group to tell stories of the CPC.

Zhu initiated the team when becoming a postgraduate of SISU’s School of Marxism Studies last year. What had enlightened him was a lecture about Chen Wangdao, the first person to translate The Communist Manifesto in Chinese in 1920. The lecture was given by a student group from Fudan University.

 “I was impressed by hearing the stories of CPC history in the eyes of students rather than experts or book writers,” said Zhu, “I think it is meaningful for SISU students to set up a similar team to celebrate the 100th  anniversary of the founding of CPC.”

The team started to work on April 23, 2021 after preparations for several months. SISU faculty members had joined the preparation by revising manuscripts and training new members with presentation skills. “Although students lead the group, SISU teachers certainly help a lot,” said Zhu.

The topics of lectures and course are categorized as nine including team members’ personal experiences, Shanghai grassroots governance practices and world anti-pandemic stories. Audiences can choose from these topics online in advance.

More than 50 30-minute offline lectures and two online courses has been given during the last five months, with three fifths of the offline courses being delivered to SISU students. The number of group members has increased from 29 to 35 since the second recruitment in late September 2021.

Kuang Chenghui, a junior student in French, joined the team in late March 2021. She has given two of fifties courses in which Kuang elaborated the reasons why patriotic songs were produced and what they meant for the Chinese. “I used to be depressed that my friends have little interest in my favorite patriotic songs, but now I can share them to others.”

Zhu did not use routine teaching equipment such as computer and electronic screen in a class held in Yaojing village of Songjiang, Shanghai in September. Sitting near the field, he told farmers and the retired what President Xi Jingping and Mao Zedong, the first chairman of the PRC, have done when they were young.

Now, all courses are delivered in Chinese. But Zhu’s team will try to tell stories in multi-languages and launch a student forum to exchange experience with other universities’ student groups.

Sharing multilingual stories

“Ein Gespenst geht um in Europa-das Gespenst des Kommunismus (a spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of Communism),” Liang Xijiang, SISU professor majoring in German wrote the first sentence of The Communist Manifesto originally in German on the blackboard, teaching teenagers to read aloud in chorus.

He then told them that “Gespenst”, translated as "ghost," has gone through many Chinese translated versions over the centuries, giving the young learners a glimpse into the bumpy spreading process of Marxist beliefs.

It is the first lesson for Foreign Language Institute located at 6 Yuyangli in central Shanghai. The Institute was first set up in 1920 by the CPC sponsor group aiming at cultivating revolutionary leader and spread communism, but the police in the former French Concession halted its activities a year later.

It was now restarted by the Huangpu communist youth league and SISU. Starting from October 2, 30-minute classes open on every other Saturday during the 12-week semester. In class, SISU volunteers lead students aged 8-18 to read The Communist Manifesto in its original version.

Except for the first lecture given by teacher Liang, the following classes are taught by students who pronounce German well and are passionate about teaching German lessons.

Shi Bixiao, a third-year graduate student in German gave the second class. She designed her course based on The Communist Manifesto, and adjusted the script under the guidance of her German teacher. “I chose simpler expressions to help young students understand,” Shi said.

“I found German very interesting, and studying the original version of The Communist Manifesto really expanded my knowledge,” said Ye, a listener from Shi’s class and a grade seven student from XiangMing Junior High School.

The whole activity originates from a book club, where teachers and students majoring in German shared their views on Marxist classics. “Now we are extending this form of education that combines political classes with foreign language teaching to the society,” said Yang Junyu, the organizer of the activity.

“We chose the Foreign Language Institute because we share the spirit to interpret the world,” Yang said.

Apart from the two activities, the story-telling extends to a play performed by a SISU student troupe telling CPC history more vividly.


Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email :

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading