Chinese authorities are purging books that may lead to veneration of the West from school libraries, as the Chinese Communist Party stresses ideological education ahead of its centennial anniversary.
According to Nikkei Asia, the Ministry of Education issued an order to kindergartners, primary and secondary schools across the country to remove books that are against party ideology and policies, which took effect in early April.
Instead, schools will focus on titles related to the thoughts of Chinese President Xi Jinping. A middle school in Beijing filled its bookshelves with a collection of Xi’s speeches and documents, including “The Chinese Dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation.” While some universities, such as the Zhejiang A & F University, founded new exhibitions to display collections of documents, books and memorabilia related to party history.
“The clear aim is to foster loyalty and devotion to Xi among the young ahead of the July 1 centennial of the Chinese Communist Party,” the article wrote.
Gulliver’s Travels, a masterpiece of satire, is among books that could be banned for being “scientifically incorrect.”
“It’s become difficult to choose books for kids to read,” an elementary school teacher in Anhui Province told Nikkei Asia. If the authorities only allow books on certain topics, it will restrict students’ horizons and exposure, said Wong, a librarian at a Hong Kong primary school.
The Selected Works of Mao Ze-dong has also become a trending title. Sales of the book, which is a collection of written works by chairperson Mao, doubled and reached 54,000 in 2020. Netizens shared its quotes as well as their own reviews on Weibo.
The coronavirus pandemic and the mounting international pressure China faced left him feeling pessimistic and he only picked himself up by reading the book, one wrote.
According to Ho Pin, founder and CEO of Mirror Media Group, Chinese citizens are proud of the rapid development of the country’s economy and the government is taking the opportunity to promote the success of the party.
Demanding students to study books on Xi’s thoughts is one form of mental and spiritual control, to step up the worship of the Chinese leader, he added. If Chinese people are blinded by the country’s economic achievement and continue in individual worship, they will lose their motivation to learn from the rest of the world and will eventually fall behind once again, Ho warned.
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