HACIENDA, California–The Confucius Classroom Program implemented in the Chinese-populated Hacienda La Puente Unified School District of southern California has provoked a debate over whether the class materials are promoting communism.
Despite the fact that Chinese Communist Party idioms such as, “When all the hares are killed, the hounds will be stewed and eaten–kick out somebody after his services are no longer needed,” are found in the textbooks, Norman Hsu, member of the school district’s Education Committee, insists that the program is purely a language class and there is no political indoctrination. He said although the textbooks were imported from China, they were nothing more than reference-books similar to dictionaries, and not capable of promoting communism.
However, after several protests to the school district, former Chinese basketball star and renowned human rights activist, Kai Chen, along with John Kramer, former superintendent of the school district, found communist content in the textbooks during an inspection.
Chen and Kramar said on the map of the People’s Republic of China provided by the Chinese Language Council International (the HanBan version), Taiwan, Paracel Islands, and part of the sea area of the Philippines and Vietnam were included in China’s territory. They are afraid that the students would be misled into acknowledging the so-called “Territory of China” claimed by the communist regime. Also, Chen and Kramar wondered how the teachers would explain Taiwan as a legal-democratic government to their students.
Kramar said he has been to China many times, including the period when the June 4th Tiananmen Square Massacre occurred in 1989, he was therefore very familiar with the circumstances surrounding the bloody massacre.
In the class materials, there are two CCP slogans as well as a portrait of Mao Zedong which appear in the picture of Tiananmen. Chen wondered how the teachers would explain all the deaths that have taken place in the Square including the “June 4th Massacre,” since this question would inevitably come up. He wondered if the teachers would be able to tell their students the truth if they had indeed taken money from the CCP.
Chen said the Chinese Communist authorities’ crafty tactics could be seen in the preface of the book “Follow Me to Learn Chinese” provided by HanBan. In the English annotations, the organization claims to be a nongovernmental organization to fool non-Chinese users. HanBan, which stands for Chinese Language Council International, is in charge of teaching the Chinese language across the globe.
Indoctrination with Communist Values
Although HanBan presents itself as a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, it is affiliated with the Ministry of Education in China and is composed of members from 12 state ministries and commissions.
The organization admitted that some classroom materials were published with the help of the Chinese Youth League–a political organization affiliated with the CCP. Chinese language students are clearly being indoctrinated with communist values without their notice.
Chen said that, more ridiculously, the definition for “Morality (or Virtue)” in the Xinhua Dictionary was, “One of the social formations, the combination of relations between individual-individual, individual-society as well as a code of conduct adjusted by evaluating good and evil,” which is a typical CCP definition.
The class materials also included a DVD of the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Under the “One World, One Dream” theme, the event ironically took place even as a great number of Falun Gong practitioners were being thrown into forced labor camps, and over a million migrant workers who had built the Olympic facilities being pigeonholed away.
Chen also said a lot of Chinese idioms were used but were distorted in the textbooks, such as “Being kindhearted, a person is prone to be bullied,” placing an emphasis on power instead of the importance of altruism and morality. The previous example: “When all the hares are killed, the hounds will be stewed and eaten—kick out somebody after his services are no longer needed,” promotes the idea of using people. Neither of the examples should be taught to children.
Chen said it was hard to detect these things if one is not familiar with the devious nature of the CCP culture. He said he would record every passage like this and disclose it to the public in the next school district meeting.