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Some insights into Chinese culture from the field of Sinology (and III)

The education of China

 

 

It has been argued in previous articles that the continuity of the so-called “Chinese culture” in the territory known as People’s Republic of China is nothing but a well-orchestrated lie from the Chinese Communist Party created with one goal: to make Chinese foreign policy acceptable to a Western civilization yearning for tolerance and multiculturalism. On the other hand, we have also gathered some evidence against the idea that Contemporary China is a Confucian society or is endowed with Confucian education, as Qinghua University and CCP spokesman Daniel A. Bell defends in his China’s New Confucianism. In what follows, we provide a more inclusive list of teaching materials from PRC, which shall convince the reader that the so-called “Confucian education” is nowhere to be seen in the People’s Republic of China:

 

- “Politics course” (zhengzhi ge 政治課): Chinese students have mandatory “Politics course” from cradle to the grave. Universities request papers praising the CCP and qualifications are examined by many companies after the students have graduated. It should be said that these courses are mandatory no matter whether it is a degree in “Spanish language” or a master in “Optics”. As an example, we provide the schedule for Nankai University’s “Spanish Language” degree, 2014-2015 (Fig. 1):

                        Monday: Microsoft Access

                        Tuesday: Spanish, English and Military Ethics and Training

                        Wednesday: Spanish, English and The Basic Principles of Marxism

                        Thursday: Spanish and Sports

                        Friday: Spanish

 IMG 7534

Fig. 1

It is quite remarkable that, after so many years studying Marxism, they are still dealing with the “Basic Principles of Marxism” in the university. Taking a closer look could be counter-productive.

- Undergraduate alumni have to study and memorize four basic texts: Outline of Modern Chinese History (Zhongguo jinxiandai shi gangyao 中國近現代史綱要), Introduction to Mao Zedong’s Thought and the Theoretical System of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics (Mao Zedong sixiang he Zhongguo tese shehuizhuyi lilun tixi gailun 毛澤東思想和中國特色社會主義理論體系概論), Introduction to the Basic Principles of Marxism (Makesizhuyi jiben yuanli gailun 馬克思主義基本原理概論), and Ideological and Moral Cultivation and their Legal Foundations (Sixiang daode xiuyang yu falü jichu 思想道德修養與法律基礎). All these texts are decalogues from the Chinese Communist Party and, once more, they are merely introductions to knowledge that the alumni have been reading for years (Fig. 2).

 libros

Fig. 2

- Master candidates, on the other hand, have mandatory courses on Communism with the following lectures: Theory and Practice Research on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics (Zhongguo tese shehuizhuyi lilun he shijian yanjiu 中國特色社會主義理論和實踐研究), Jiang Zemin’s Thoughts on Science and Technology Lun kexue jishu 論科學技術), or Engels’ Dialectics of Nature, which is employed as a guide to Western Philosophy. Alumni are required to use Marxism to criticize any point of view at odds with the propaganda of the CCP.

- Some excerpts from these books and classes I took from my students’ notes follow:

“Mao Zedong is a great personage of the times, without Mao Zedong it would be no Communist Party” (毛澤東是一個時代的偉人,沒有毛澤東沒有共產黨). Needless to say, the CCP was NOT founded by Mao Zedong.

“In contemporary times, Mao’s Military Theory is the greatest military theory of human history up to date. Western people fear above all two Chinese: Genghis Khan and Mao (在現當代,毛軍事思想是人類歷史上迄今為止最偉大的軍事思想。西方人最懼怕的兩個中國人:成吉思汗、毛。).

“Socialism with Chinese Characteristics is the sailing flag of the united struggle of all the peoples and parties (中國特色社會主義,是凝聚全黨各族人民團結奮鬥的旗帆, Fig. 3).

IMG 7071 

Fig. 3

“When the capital arrived to this world, from top to bottom, every pore sweated blood and filthy things” (資本來到世間,從頭到腳,每個毛孔都滴着血和骯髒的東西) .

- Examinations on Military Morals are likewise Communist in nature, as the following examples, taking from the examinations of 2013 at Nankai University show (Fig. 4):

p. 2: “1, What are the scientific concepts of Mao Zedong’s Military Theory?”

p. 3: “Discuss active defense, measures for appropriate fighting, … in Mao Zedong’s Military Theory. What practical significance do they have for strengthening China’s current military struggle?”

 

 exams

Fig. 4

- Alumni and schools are surrounded with Communist propaganda and Cultural revolution motifs:

“Only the Communist Party can lead China, develop China and defend China” (Fig. 5, from an online announcement for students at Nankai University).

 IMG 7536

Fig. 5

“Speak in the common language, write with standard characters, be a civilized person” (Fig. 6). What this actually means is: Do not use dialects when speaking, do not use traditional Chinese”.

 shuo resize

Fig. 6

Other examples can be seen in China’s most popular dictionary Spanish-Chinese, which is also a propaganda tool of the Party (Fig. 7).

 IMG 7121 IMG 7122

IMG 7125 IMG 7535

Fig. 7

- Finally, students are encouraged to assist to weekly conferences and meetings on Communism, usually called “Learning Meeting of Party Members” (dangyuan xuexi hui 黨員學習會) or “Party Meeting of Life Organization” (dangyuan zuzhi shenghuo hui黨員組織生活會).

 

Education, society and personhood

After all these examples, which are only the tip of the iceberg, it is not surprising that students and society as a whole are rather similar to characters from Orwell’s 1984 than to a normal and balanced human being. Thus, logical thought and self-criticism is totally absent. One student told me once that those who say that the Cantonese language is not “hanyu” (Chinese language, Mandarin) are “traitors”. I asked her in Cantonese if she could understand me, since she was Chinese and I was –according to her– speaking “hanyu”, but she could not. Still, she didn’t see the contradiction: if Cantonese is Chinese and you understand Chinese, you should understand Cantonese (Fig. 8).

maig 

Fig. 8

Another interesting case happened when alumni were studying the Spanish future tense. One of them said, without blinking at all, that “In the future there will be no countries and Taiwan will return to China”. I wonder if what she meant was that China will destroy the remaining countries.

On the other hand, as it has been previously said, it is impossible to see any Confucian influence in a society that has long forgotten what creativity means and cherishes blindly worship to the bloody CCP. It is, as one of the victims of the Tiananmen Massacre put it, “a country with one brain” (yi guo yi nao 一國一腦) that can only copy and imitate behaviors but are unable to show the slightest trace of independence (see the red cars parked at Nankai University, Fig. 9).

 IMG 7818_resize

Fig. 9

1984-style banners are not uncommon. One of the most popular reads (Fig. 10):

“The socialist core values: prosperity, democracy, civilization, harmony, freedom, equality, justice, rule of law, patriotism, professionalism, honesty, friendship”.

 socval

Fig. 10

No wonder one of the most watched movies on iQIYI, an online video platform very popular in China, is the Nazi movie “Triumph of the Will”, properly subtitled for the benefit of those who don’t speak German (Fig. 11).

 

 IMG 7728_resize IMG 7729_resize

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Fig. 11

 

Note: The author wishes to express his most sincere gratitude to those students who, willingly or not, helped him to collect the material herein presented.