How a Book About America’s History Foretold China’s Future
 

How a Book About America’s History Foretold China’s Future

03/2022

//In these countries, he said, the divide between the rich and poor had degenerated into “political polarization and rampant populism.” Fang Kecheng, a journalism and communications professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told me, “In Xi’s conception of the ‘new era,’ wealth inequality and the über-rich are important challenges, of course, but there is something the Party sees as equally necessary: a unified system of values.”

Last fall, education authorities banned the use of foreign textbooks in Beijing elementary and middle schools, placing the emphasis instead on books espousing the philosophy of Xi Jinping. In the edition for first and second graders, one chapter packaged a lesson on conformity into a sartorial tip: “Cultivating the right values is like buttoning shirts,” it read. “If you get the first one wrong, the rest will be ruined, too.” //

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