China Banned Imported Textbooks Today (sort of)

From Xue Yujie at Sixth Tone:

China’s education ministry published a new set of regulations Tuesday forbidding the country’s primary and middle schools from using textbooks imported from foreign countries.

The Ministry of Education said all primary and middle schools, which together make up the country’s nine-year compulsory education period, cannot use teaching materials from overseas. The laundry list of varied instructions on the management of teaching materials spans nearly all levels of education.

During a press conference Tuesday, a ministry spokesperson said the new guidelines were introduced to “adhere to the correct political direction and value orientation.” In September 2018, the ministry had launched a one-month “comprehensive” inspection of teaching materials to keep schools from using foreign or self-published textbooks.

International schools are perhaps exempt? For now. Mostly or fully?

According to the new rules, universities, vocational schools, international high schools, and international programs at domestic high schools are still allowed to use imported teaching materials, as domestic teaching materials “aren’t sufficient to meet teaching demands.” However, such institutions will be encouraged to choose versions that have been translated and distributed by Chinese publishers.

On the other hand, all primary and middle schools, as well as vocational institutions, must adopt the country’s unified teaching materials for Chinese language, history, and politics, which tend to have a strong ideological slant and may involve content related to state sovereignty, security, ethnicity, and religion.

I’m not 100% clear on this. Can’t translate! It seems like even the private “international” elementary schools are now forbidden from using any foreign text to teach Chinese history.

The regulations stipulate that authors and editors of teaching materials must “hold a firm political stance” in line with that of the Communist Party of China. The authors of articles selected for inclusion in textbooks should also have “positive historical evaluations and a good social image.”

This last part is not news.