China Minister Wants End to School Books With 'Western Values'

Volunteer team helping students
Local senior students prepare for college entrance examination in China's Sichuan province in 2013. jhphoto - Imaginechina, file

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BEIJING, China - Students have criticized China's education minister after he reportedly called for schools and colleges to throw out textbooks promoting “western values.”

Yuan Guiren told a forum of local education officials and Chinese university representatives that they “must never let textbooks promoting western values appear in our classes,” according to China’s state news agency, Xinhua.

It comes as Chinese president Xi Jinping pushes for education institutions to give “ideological guidance” to students. Late last year, he called for universities to “shoulder the burden of learning and researching the dissemination of Marxism” and to promote Communist party ideals on campuses.

However, students reacted with scorn to Yuan’s comments. Helen Liu, from the Communications College of China, told NBC News: “This is ridiculous. They are doing this because they lack confidence.”

Other students also pointed out that so-called “western values” were easy to see online.

“We are in a global era,” said Yang Bai from Xi’an International Studies University. “We have Internet so the new rule does not make any sense.”

Kevin Chen, from Tongji University in Shanghai, added: “If they think they can prevent us from getting these values, they will be wrong.”

Despite the push for Chinese education, thousands of students in China choose to study abroad each year, including some children of top officials.


- Shanshan Dong and Julia Zhou