History, education and politics in China

History was, and still is important in China. We have already seen how the Manchu tried to control the history written about them, but the issue is also of importance today: last week, it was announced that the ministry of education will make sure textbooks used in classes are the official ones: “China expunges unapproved, foreign content from school textbooks“. This is not a new development, as you can tell from an article from the New York Times in 2004: history in schools is a subject that is treated very carefully by the Communist Party of China (CPC): “China’s textbooks twist and omit history“. For your information: Japan is regularly accused by China and Korea of downplaying the atrocities of WWII in the textbooks for Japanese schools, see for instance this article, and there is even a dedicated Wikepedia entry for “Japanese Textbook Controversies“. (Check out the “talk” tab of the article, too, if you really want to dig deep into this)

On a related note: there seems to be an increase in students in Chinese classrooms who are also informants to the authorities, if their teachers say things that are not quite in line with government policy. Many see this as a worrying development, with memories of the various campaigns under Mao Zedong. Check out “Informants in the Chinese classroom

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