Patriotic education distorts China worldview

Alone In Asia

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing

After 21-year-old Cai Yang was arrested in September for beating a Toyota-driving Chinese compatriot with a bicycle lock during an anti-Japanese protest, his mother tried to explain his actions.

“The education at school always instills the idea that Japanese are evil people and if you turn on the television most of the programmes are about the anti-Japanese war,” Yang Shuilan said. “How can we possibly not resent the Japanese?”

Apart from the fact that Cai’s 50-year-old victim was Chinese not Japanese, Ms Yang makes a valid point.

In the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and the fall of the Soviet Union, China’s leaders concluded that the Communist party needed to improve its “thought work”. So they launched a new “patriotic education” campaign that continues to this day.

The selective teaching of history – emphasising the brutality of foreign invaders and ignoring atrocities…

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