The new teaching materials are one more tool to indoctrinate China’s youth by promoting Maoism and slating Western democratic values.
by Sun Kairui
Since the start of the school year in 2019, all primary and middle schools across China have started using new teaching materials prepared by the Ministry of Education. First-grade students in high schools of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin municipalities and Shandong, Hainan, and Liaoning provinces were also issued new textbooks for the Chinese language, history, and political education. The Ministry of Education announced that these new textbooks would reach all high schools across the country by 2022.
According to the person in charge of the Education Ministry’s Textbook Bureau, “textbooks include works that reflect revolutionary traditions and revolutionary spirit, […] highlight the guiding value of revolutionary theory articles and inspire students to love the Chinese Communist Party and the motherland.” The Chinese language textbooks for high schoolers also include numerous materials by Mao Zedong, like Reform Our Study, his famous text from 1941, calling to expand Marxist-Leninist education. Or Oppose Stereotyped Party Writing, his speech delivered to Party cadres on February 8, 1942.
Presenting the new textbooks, state-run media proclaimed that Maoism “was making a loud comeback” in schools. According to one article, they are expected to help students “understand the deeds of Chairman Mao and other revolutionary leaders, appreciate the glorious feats of revolutionary martyrs,” “strengthen students’ ideals and beliefs and cultivate patriotism.” After being exposed to red education and Mao Zedong Thought, young people’s worldview “will undergo a major change, and socialist thought will rise again.” The article states that the textbooks’ revision “represents another crucial step in the great national rejuvenation of our country,” which is unstoppable “under the guidance of Mao Zedong Thought.” Maoism should also become “the magic weapon for defeating the enemy,” like the United States.
A high school teacher from the eastern province of Zhejiang told Bitter Winter that textbooks for the first grade of high schools had been updated provincewide. After the change, many references to Western history and culture have been removed. In the textbook English Around the World, a text about Ann Frank’s diary was replaced with a story about Chinese student Han Jing’s reflections on the first day at school.
“The earlier text helped students learn about the World War II, Holocaust, and Nazism,” the teacher said. “But the CCP does not want students to learn this.”
A text on the development of the English language and its influence in China was replaced with two stories: about the Terracotta Army buried with emperor Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BC) to protect him in the afterlife and Peru, whose largest trade partner is China. Another new story in the textbook presents China’s achievements in global affairs and Chinese culture’s popularity.
“With previous texts, students had more opportunities to learn about different cultures and understand how the English language developed,” the teacher added. “The new ones sing praises to the government. They are meant to indoctrinate students and make them support and love the Communist Party.”