What the Chinese Education Minister is Really Trying to Say

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 7, July 2015.

By Grace Zhang

Cartoon by Kiko Hernandez  kartoonista.com http://thekartoonista.blogspot.com/?m=1

Illustration by Kiko Hernandez

China’s education minister Yuan Guiren gave a speech in Beijing in January 2015 about banning the use of Western textbooks in classrooms that has stirred up a lot of controversy.[i] Guiren believes there should be minimal use of Western textbooks in higher education in China. His intention in doing this is to block Western values from entering the classroom, which will reduce criticism of Communist Party leadership among students.

To someone from the West, this may seem extreme and difficult to understand because it’s so far from the ideals that Western countries hold, but there are cultural differences to be taken into consideration. I believe that Guiren isn’t saying these things to stir up controversy or hinder the education of his people, but instead he is advocating for Chinese national interest.

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