Skip to content

Survival or Destruction

Hu Jie

Release year: 2005

Run time: 120 mins

Film type: Documentary


After Reform and Opening, private education came into being. It not only created wealth, but also allowed humanistic industrialists to invest their wealth. Just as private schools were booming, the Ministry of Education issued the "Private Education Promotion Law". This law did not play much role in promoting private education, but rather pushed many schools into crisis, because the source of their students began to rapidly shrink.

Survival or destruction? This question is for scholars. This film records the situation of private schools, and highlights the collapse of Nanyang Education Group, the flagship of private education in the country. Other private school principals, teachers and students, as well as scholars who study education, and some government officials were interviewed for the film. They discuss the causes of the predicament from different angles. Due to the marketization of education, in order to ensure their vested interests, public schools that originally held public educational resources have adopted strategies such as "prestigious schools building branch schools" and "prestigious schools running private schools" to privatize public educational resources in order to enjoy exclusive market share. The education management department is also willing to profit from such practices and use this competition to eliminate the idea of independent and pluralistic education. Under the protection of the monopoly of privileged interests and the "Promotion Law", many outstanding private schools shut down, and the educational ideals of the scholars running them also died.


Director biography

Hu Jie is an independent historian, artist, and filmmaker. Born in Jinan, Shandong in 1958, he graduated from the Art College of the People’s Liberation Army. He works in oils and woodcuts from his lakeside studio in Nanjing. His films are among the most important documents of China’s unacknowledged “unoffcial history”, and include Looking for Lin Zhao’s Soul (2005), about a martyr-poet critic of Mao; and Though I Am Gone (2007), about an elite Beijing girls’ high school whose students murdered their headmaster at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.