There's recently been a big storm of controversy in China about some pictures found in a Primary School maths textbook. Parents apparently complained that some the cartoons of the Chinese children were, "ugly, unpatriotic and even pornographic"! Examples included pictures of students having "western wide-set eyes", wearing shirts with (American!?) stars on them and "bulges in boys' trousers"!? Bizarre!
Now this moral panic has spread to all educational institutions. Thus, yesterday, I was summoned to my University to submit all my recently used textbooks for vetting. My boss [right] flicked through the books for pictures of an inappropriate political, cultural or religious flavour. Of course, he found nothing. These are, after all, textbooks produced in China, chosen by the University themselves and which the teachers are forced to use. So they now need to check if they are appropriate? And they don't even have their own copies? It's all very Chinese!!
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Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
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