I spotted an article yesterday in The Record about Red China’s changing school curriculum, beginning in Shanghai. Propaganda about Chairman Mao is out, replaced by commerce and globalization. But numerous other historical Chinese ﬁgures are out, too.
Joseph Kahn wrote:
Zhou [Chunsheng, a professor at Shanghai Normal University,] said the new textbooks followed the ideas of the French historian Fernand Braudel. Braudel advocated including culture, religion, social customs, economics and ideology into a new “total history.” That approach has been popular in many Western countries for more than 50 years.
Braudel elevated history above the ideology of any nation. China has steadily moved away from its ruling ideology of communism, but the Shanghai textbooks are the ﬁrst to try examining it as a phenomenon rather than preaching it as the truth. …
The new textbooks de-emphasize dynastic change, peasant struggle, ethnic rivalry and war, some critics say, because the leadership does not want people thinking that such things matter a great deal. Ofﬁcials prefer to create the impression that Chinese through the ages cared more about innovation, technology and trade relationships with the outside world.
This makes some sense, and I welcome any move away from propaganda and indoctrination. But for my tastes, it doesn’t go far enough. It would be a shame if Chinese students never heard about Mao’s ill-fated moves and killings that led to the deaths of 70 million Chinese—who needs Japanese invaders while that’s going on? Or, for that matter:
The Shanghai textbook revisions do not address many domestic and foreign concerns about the biased way Chinese schools teach recent history. Like the old textbooks, for example, the new ones play down historic errors or atrocities like the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and the army crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989.
I criticize the way Japanese textbooks gloss over World War II history, and I’m going to be just as hard on my own culture. Like so many cultures, it appears we want our children to repeat the errors of the past, but that’s going to be a hard point to argue against in what is, despite the changing emphasis, a totalitarian socialist régime. Mao is not going to be painted as a bad guy right now—that is still left to those living in the safety and freedoms of the west to expose and expound. Posted by Jack Yan, 01:58
A few years ago I volunteered at Aushwitz in Poland in an exchange program. It was amazing to view the holocaust from another perspective. Here in the US the holocaust victims are primarily painted as Jews. But in Germany and Poland, a few of the musuems I went to did not even mention Jews and focused on the Communists and the Russians and would give a byline to the religous minorities -"people of non-christian faith were also persecuted". Its like that quote in Brave New World - " History is Bunk"
Wow, what an amazing perspective—the one we are taught here is also about Jews being Holocaust victims. I once heard that Russians were not counted in the six million total that perished in Nazi concentration camps, because they were not our allies, and that the number only consisted of Jews.Post a Comment
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