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Ain't no Mao no mo'
September 1, 2006 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Mao who?
posted by mr_crash_davis (36 comments total)

 
I like how they say they're just emulating the west, by focusing on societies and cultures, rather then generals an "great men".
posted by delmoi at 11:29 AM on September 1, 2006


Oh, here is a much more detailed NYT article.
posted by delmoi at 11:30 AM on September 1, 2006


He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
posted by Slothrup at 11:44 AM on September 1, 2006


Plus ca change... the political goals have changed so the instruments of teaching has changed to accomodate them!?

How about teaching history without heavy Communist ideology rather than chucking most of history-learnin' altogether? Too politically sensitive?
posted by Firas at 11:44 AM on September 1, 2006


Whoa, jinx!
posted by Firas at 11:44 AM on September 1, 2006


Early this year a prominent Chinese historian, Yuan Weishi, wrote an essay that criticized Chinese textbooks for whitewashing the savagery of the Boxer Rebellion, the violent movement against foreigners in China at the beginning of the 20th century. He called for a more balanced analysis of what provoked foreign interventions at the time.

In response, the popular newspaper supplement Freezing Point, which carried his essay, was temporarily shut down and its editors were fired. When it reopened, Freezing Point ran an essay that rebuked Mr. Yuan, a warning that many historical topics remained too delicate to discuss in the popular media.


The Boxer Rebellion is too sensitive a subject to discuss? When does the statute of limitations run out??
posted by languagehat at 11:49 AM on September 1, 2006


From the People's Daily Online, The Communist Party of China (CPC):
The CPC is the vanguard of the Chinese working class, the faithful representative of the interests of the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and the core of leadership over the socialist cause of China.

CPC's maximum program of long objective is to realize the Communist social system and the minimum program at present is to build socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The CPC takes Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory as the guidance of its actions.

The CPC's basic line for the primary stage of socialism is to unite with and lead the people of all ethnic groups in the endeavor to build China into a prosperous, strong, democratic and highly civilized modern socialist state by taking economic development as the central task, adhering to the Four Cardinal Principles (adherence to the socialist road, the people's democratic dictatorship, the leadership of the Communist Party, and Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought), persisting in reform and opening up, developing the spirit of self-reliance and pioneering enterprises with painstaking efforts.
Let a thousand flowers bloom...
posted by cenoxo at 11:53 AM on September 1, 2006


Officials prefer to create the impression that Chinese through the ages cared more about innovation, technology and trade relationships with the outside world.

yeah, that sure sounds like good ol' fashioned communism to me. lenin would be so proud.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:57 AM on September 1, 2006


Mousy dung.
posted by LordSludge at 11:59 AM on September 1, 2006


There is a lesson on how neckties became fashionable.

At least they're not censoring this controversial subject.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 12:01 PM on September 1, 2006


Then who on earth do they think is lying with the big black hair in the big glass box in the big building in the very big Tiananmen Square?

Sylvester Stallone's mum?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:09 PM on September 1, 2006


Then who on earth do they think is lying with the big black hair in the big glass box in the big building in the very big Tiananmen Square?

Sylvester Stallone's mum?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:09 PM on September 1, 2006


Oh dung - a double!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:10 PM on September 1, 2006


People's Democratic Dictatorship... lol

Living here, it's surprising how open people are in expressing hostility towards Mao. Most of the people I speak with - educated English speakers - had their educated families uprooted and sent countryside during the Cultural Revolution. It surprised me to learn that Chinese textbooks are openly hostile to the CR... I figured it would be glossed over as a "it was needed at the time"-type thing.
posted by trinarian at 12:15 PM on September 1, 2006


I figured it would be glossed over as a "it was needed at the time"-type thing.

Well, that's an odd thing to think. Mao's wife and the gang of four were actually put on trial after Mao died.
posted by delmoi at 12:23 PM on September 1, 2006


let's see...

lawless capitalism + exploitation of underpaid workers + authoritarianism

one wonders where on earth those silly Orientals get their ideas after all
posted by matteo at 12:27 PM on September 1, 2006


Countercultural evolution is a dinner party!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:31 PM on September 1, 2006


one wonders where on earth those silly Orientals get their ideas
That particular one, they probably got at Wal-Mart.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:07 PM on September 1, 2006


The Boxer Rebellion is too sensitive a subject to discuss? When does the statute of limitations run out??
Never. In China, the fact is that History Is Important.
posted by jiawen at 1:15 PM on September 1, 2006


expletive! Chinese communism before the economic reform that began in 1979 is covered in a sentence. The text mentions Mao Zedong only once — in a chapter on etiquette.

I already knew students from china have a void where chinese history should be...now its officially a black hole.
posted by uni verse at 1:33 PM on September 1, 2006


Darth Mao!
posted by jonson at 1:44 PM on September 1, 2006


I think this is a good thing.
posted by I Foody at 2:12 PM on September 1, 2006



Mousy dung.
posted by LordSludge at 11:59 AM PST on September 1


I always wanted to name a cat Chairman Meow.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 2:26 PM on September 1, 2006


There was an episode of Kate and Allie in which the son had a pet mouse named Mousey Toungue.
posted by rogue haggis landing at 2:28 PM on September 1, 2006


Boppa ewwww Mao Mao.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:41 PM on September 1, 2006


I don't get it. It looks like their high school world history course will no longer be taught from a (ridiculous) Maoist perspective, and actually be something resembling a world history class instead of a political indoctrination.

"The old textbooks, not unlike the ruling Communist Party, changed relatively little in the last quarter-century of market-oriented economic reforms. They were glaringly out of sync with realities students face outside the classroom."
...
"Many scholars said they did not regret leaving behind the Marxist perspective in history courses. It is still taught in required classes on politics."


Chinese history, Marxism and everything you wanted to know about Mao but were too afraid to ask is still being taught, according to the articles, just not in the world history class.
posted by loquax at 3:20 PM on September 1, 2006


Smash the Old World!
We are Chairman Mao’s Red Guards,
We steel our red hearts in great winds and waves.
We arm ourselves with Mao Tse-tung’s thought
To sweep away all pests.

We are Chairman Mao’s Red Guards,
Absolutely firm in our proletarian stand,
Marching on the revolutionary road of our forbears,
We shoulder the heavy task of our age.

We are Chairman Mao’s Red Guards,
Vanguards of the cultural revolution.
We unite with the masses and together plunge into the battle
To wipe out all monsters and demons.

Refrain:
Dare to criticize and repudiate, dare to struggle,
Never stop making revolutionary rebellion.
We will smash the old world
And keep our revolutionary state red for ten thousand generations!
(More thoughts of Chairman Mao, and Cultural Revolution images c/o Morning Sun.)

The current scenario of turning the children of revolutionaries into consumers is a win-win. Let the new generation charge forward, and let them forget who's really in charge.
posted by cenoxo at 3:27 PM on September 1, 2006


From NYT article, "The new textbooks de-emphasize dynastic change, peasant struggle, ethnic rivalry and war, some critics say, because the leadership does not want people thinking that such things matter a great deal."

For some time now, one of the major problems facing the government of China is the growing dissatisfaction of the rural people with their lot in life. The rulers fear a rebellion and have been working to head it off. I suspect that by painting the picture of traditional values centering around technical progress and innovation rather than rebellion, they hope to impose a quiet, social pressure against overthrowing the current leaders.

ibid. "Officials prefer to create the impression that Chinese through the ages cared more about innovation, technology and trade relationships with the outside world."
posted by RMALCOLM at 3:40 PM on September 1, 2006


Japan refuses to recognize their 20th century treatment of China; China drops Mao; and the USA conveniently forgets most of our 20th century military colonial history and (sorry, conservatives): de-emphasizes our very existence as a country as one founded on slavery and genocide.
posted by kozad at 3:53 PM on September 1, 2006


Those who cannot remember the past are commissioned to rewrite it.

And Mao-maniacs, fret not: his place in history is still secure, if only as world-class endurance athlete.
posted by rob511 at 4:20 PM on September 1, 2006


And Mao-maniacs, fret not: his place in history is still secure, if only as world-class endurance athlete.

When I studied abroad in Beijing, one of my professors was a really cool old guy named Zhang Zhi 张志. He always wore a Zhongshan suit (aka "Mao suit"), and always brought in a mason jar filled with tea. He taught us about the Yalta Treaty, and he taught me how to play Weiqi ("Go"). I also later found out he was on the editorial board of one of my favorite dictionaries. Among his other coolnesses was what he said about Mao: Mao's greatest contribution to Chinese culture is as a calligrapher; his second greatest contribution is as a poet; his contributions as a politician rank only third.
posted by jiawen at 4:48 PM on September 1, 2006


He always wore a Zhongshan suit (aka "Mao suit")

Just to explain that reference for the roundeyes: Zhongshan (Wade-Giles "Chung Shan") is how all Chinese refer to the man we English-speakers call Sun Yat-sen. It means 'Middle Mountain' and is the Chinese rendition of the characters used in his Japanese alias Nakayama. A main street in any Chinese or Taiwanese city will always be Zhongshan Lu [Sun Yat-sen Road].
posted by languagehat at 5:25 PM on September 1, 2006


I used to think Orwell was being denser than usual when, writing 1984 in 1947 -- before the Communists finished taking over but were clearly well on their way -- he portrayed the Eastasian ideology not as some form of "Socialism" (e.g., "Ingsoc") but as something called Death Worship. It turns out that by the calendar year 1984 "Socialism" was on its way out in "Red" China, but that its replacement was the worship not of Death but of Money. (Which perhaps wasn't always very different after all.)
posted by davy at 8:30 PM on September 1, 2006


Chinese communism before the economic reform that began in 1979 is covered in a sentence.

Actually, that sounds about right. Chinese history spans some 4000 years. Proportionately, the last half century should only receive 1.25% of the student's time.
posted by Iridic at 9:42 PM on September 1, 2006


www.chron.com sez: No such article. We're sorry, but the article you requested is not currently available on Chron.com

So thanks, delmoi, for the link to the NYTimes article.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:25 AM on September 2, 2006


It means 'Middle Mountain'
And just to be even more clear, Zhongshan (not Yat-sen) means "Middle Mountain". Yat-sen is a non-Mandarin (Cantonese?) reading of the man's alternate name, which means "Superior Immortal" or something like that. Reading in Mandarin, it'd be Yi4xian1.
posted by jiawen at 12:36 PM on September 2, 2006


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