Microsoft Chairman Replaces Mao in China

High school students in Shanghai are in for a surprise when they open their history textbooks.

Microsoft Chairman Replaces Mao in China

History textbooks in China, which dropped dynasties and Communist revolutions in favor of information on economics, technology and globalization, have included information about Microsoft's founder Bill Gates for the first time.

High school students in Shanghai are in for a surprise when they open their history textbooks.

Chinese dynasties and Communist revolutions have been dropped from newly revised history textbooks and been replaced by colorful tutorials on economics, technology, social customs and globalization.

The theory of Socialism has been reduced to a single short chapter in the text book version for senior high school students.

Mao, founding father of Modern China, is mentioned only once — in a chapter on etiquette.

Though Socialism is still defined as a "glorious future" in the new textbooks, the concept is reduced to one of 52 chapters in the senior high school textbook.

Revolutionary socialism gets less emphasis than the Industrial and Information revolutions.

The new textbooks minimize dynastic changes, peasant struggles, ethnic rivalry and wars, and focus on economic growth, innovation, foreign trade, political stability, respect for diverse cultures and social harmony

J.P. Morgan, Bill Gates, the New York Stock Exchange, the space shuttle and Japan's bullet train are all highlighted in the new textbooks.

The authors say these changes are part of a broader effort to "promote a more stable, less violent view of Chinese history that serves today's economic and political goals."

Education experts say these changes better prepare Chinese high school students for life and business in the real world.

The one-party state, having largely abandoned its official ideology, now prefers people to think more about the future than the past.

Zhu Xueqin, a historian at Shanghai University, points out "their new history" meets today's needs and says "Our traditional version of history was focused on ideology and national identity. The new history is less ideological and suits the political goals of today."

Gerald A. Postiglione from the University of Hong Kong stated authorities had searched for ways to make the school curriculum more relevant, and added "The emphasis is on producing innovative thinkers and preparing students for a global discourse."

Zhou Chunsheng, a professor at Shanghai Normal University and one of the leading authors of the new textbook series, said their purpose was to rescue history from its traditional emphasis on leaders and wars and to make people and societies the central theme.

"History does not belong to emperors or generals; it belongs to the people," Professor Chunsheng said, and added the new textbooks followed the ideas of the French historian Fernand Braudel, a founder of the Annales School. Braudel advocated including culture, religion, social customs, economics and ideology into a new "total history."

This radical change in education is limited to Shanghai for the present time.

The elite urban region of Shanghai has leeway to alter its curriculum and textbooks, and in the past it introduced advances that the central government then instructed the rest of the country to follow.

This textbook revolution does not; however, mean history and politics have been disentangled.

Earlier this year, a prominent Chinese historian, Yuan Weishi, wrote an essay that criticized Chinese textbooks and detailed a violent movement against foreigners in China at the beginning of the 20th century.

In response, the newspaper supplement which carried his essay was temporarily shut down and its editors were fired.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16