China bans Beethoven’s Ode to Joy in teaching materials

Published (HKT): 2020.09.30 21:50

China has banned the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, also known as the Ode to Joy, by defining it as “religious music.”

The ban was found in new guidelines issued to teachers that instructed them to avoid using religious music in teaching materials, according to posts circulated on Chinese social media sites Douban and Weibo.

A teacher posted his grievances online, saying that the Beethoven symphony was a classic and not a piece of religious music. He said he had decided to stop teaching.

Other internet users asked how musical history could be taught without using Ode to Joy, or pointed out that all classical music was related to the church.

Teachers also received a set of 10 guidelines in 2018 from the Chinese Ministry of Education. The guidelines laid out standards on political direction, patriotism, culture, teaching, caring for students, security, the teachers' words and deeds, integrity, cleanliness, and behavior. Teachers were also bound by educational discipline dictated by their respective schools.

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