China’s war on English

Strange things are happening in China as Xi tries to revive his vision of Chinese culture.

Chinese authorities are waging a war on American culture and the use of English. In April, China’s media regulators yanked the popular U.S. television shows The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and The Good Wife from Chinese streaming websites Sohu (SOHU) and Youku (YOKU). The official party newspaper, People’s Daily, ran two editorials in April bemoaning the use of words borrowed from English when speaking Chinese. Then in mid-May came a flurry of reports in the state media confirming plans announced last fall to reduce the importance of English-language instruction and to expand courses on traditional culture in grade school and high school.

The implications will be interesting over time. China seems determined to loosen the US grip on world power and increase its own influence, but this may end up being counter-productive.

As the world becomes more open, it will become harder and harder for Chinese authorities to control what influences their people. I guess they think they shouldn’t be contributing to a trend they don’t like, but English is and will remain the international business language. Chinese is far too difficult as a language and it’s also inefficient. The rest of the world won’t bother learning it. If Chinese businessmen become less proficient in English, then they will just be less effective over time.

China strives for free compulsory education for all

China takes another big step towards modernization by :

At the end of 2005, the Chinese government announced it would invest 125.4 billion yuan (US$15.6 billion) over the next five years to foot the bill for compulsory education in rural areas, making sure every rural child has the opportunity for a free nine-year education.

Central government invested 3.69 billion yuan (US$461.3 million) on schools in 12 western provinces including Yunnan and Sichuan to cover the school fees before the start of 2006 spring semester.

The plan is to extend the scheme to China’s central and eastern areas, with 148 million primary and junior high school students receiving a free education in 2007. By 2008, all the fees for rural China’s 400, 000 elementary and junior high schools will be shouldered by central and local governments. Local governments have been ordered to pay a minimum 92.8 billion yuan (US$11.6 billion) over the next five years, bringing the total spending to a potential 212.8 billion yuan (US$26.6 billion).

In addition, students from poor farming families in key counties included in the national poverty alleviation plan will be provided with free textbooks and exempted from paying miscellaneous fees. Boarding students will receive a living allowance.

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