China Defuses Song and Dance Over Peking Opera

After sharp criticism of the Education Ministry’s plan to introduce traditional Peking Opera curriculum in schools, the government reassured the public that the program wouldn’t be mandatory.

Critics of the government’s plan say forcing students to learn the 200-year-old art form may backfire. From Reuters:

The course had drawn fire from some Internet users, and media commentaries had questioned how music teachers, themselves untrained in , would educate students in the complex gestures and trilling vocals.

Other attempts by the Ministry to incorporate traditional arts into school curriculum have backfired as well.

Parents in Zhengzhou, capital of China’s central province of Henan, had voiced concerns that a compulsory course teaching children “Shaolin boxing” — a martial art created by the region’s famous Shaolin Temple — might lead to children becoming more violent, Tuesday’s China Daily said.

The program will launch in March with 200 schools in 10 provinces.

February 26, 2008, 10:57 PM
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