China’s Central Propaganda Department along with the Ministry of Education and the Central Communist Youth League combined forces to develop a list 100 books, and 100 movies, documentaries and TV shows to be heavily promoted to the malleable minds of China’s youth, Tea Leaf Nation reports.
The material on the list is meant to “deeply and thoroughly realize the spirit of the Party’s 18th National Congress, to strongly promote the national spirit and the spirit of the age among the youth, and to encourage all youth to fight to realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” according to the Propaganda Department.
The top three books on the list include such blithely reads as Stories of Marx, China Has a Mao Zedong, and Zhou Enlai: the Early Years.
These books, along with much of the material on the list, are heavy with content promoting nationalism and Communist ideology. When the list was published on Weibo and forwarded over 22,000 times, people called out the material as an attempt to brainwash children in China.
Parents across China, specifically, voiced concern. Microblogger @寂寞e孤烟 wrote, “I most certainly won’t let my child read this stuff. Over 100 [books suggested] and not more than 10 of them are acceptable.” Another user wrote, “When I have children, I guess I’ll buy books and read to them myself. This brainwashing is too intense.”
Kaifu Lee, a popular Weibo personality and former head of Google in China, wrote:
I recommended the following children’s books, but they were politely rejected by a certain department: Cinderella, Charlotte’s Web, The Princess Diaries, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, and The Count of Monte Cristo. Now that I’ve seen this list, I understand why.
According to Tea Leaf Nation,:
The list is a throwback to Mao Zedong’s famous 1942 speech, “Talks at Yan’an,” in which he stated that art and literature should serve the revolutionary cause, to unite and encourage the people to have correct political ideas. In the seventy years since this speech however, Chinese authorities have backed away from these extremes, while Chinese society has replaced revolutionary operas with soap operas, bedtime stories about Communist martyrs with television shows like, “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf.
Some ideological institutions, however, have remained stagnant, using outdated techniques to continue promoting the “revolutionary cause”, regardless of relevancy or society’s opinion.
The government should instead be promoting works which prepare children for the harsh reality of adult life, like ‘The Ugly Duckling’, where (in the Chinese version at least) the wannabe swan gets cooked as a delicious meal.
[Image credit: World Bank Photo Collection]