Chinese Parents Reject ‘Brainwashing’ Book List

At Tea Leaf Nation, Liz Carter surveys and translates parents’ online reaction to a list of books and films that the government will be promoting, many of which have strong nationalistic and ideological undertones:

China’s Central Propaganda Department, Ministry of Education, and Central Communist Youth League made waves yesterday when they released a jointly developed a list of 100 books and a list of 100 movies, documentaries, and television shows that they plan to promote heavily among China’s youth. […]

[…]The first three books listed were Stories of MarxChina Has a Mao Zedong, and Zhou Enlai: the Early Years. Much like the language of the announcement itself, the list is heavy with Communist ideology and nationalism.

[…]Parents came out strongly against the list. Wrote @寂寞e孤烟, “I most certainly won’t let my child read this stuff. More than 100 of these works and not more than 10 of them are acceptable.” Another microblogger stated, “When I have children, I guess I’ll buy books and read to them myself. This brainwashing is too intense.” Wrote one, “Another round of brainwashing.”

Others reacted with humor. “A list of What Not to Read,” quipped @水丁当. “I’ll bookmark it.” One microblogger posed a query: “When are you sending over the books? Make sure the paper is very soft please!” [Source]

Carter mentions that the recommended media lists fit into China’s tradition of socialist realism as expounded by Mao in his 1942 Yan’an Talks. Prior to taking last year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, writer Mo Yan received a degree of public criticism for taking part in a project commemorating Mao’s Yan’an guidelines.

July 19, 2013 12:51 PM
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