Friday, June 11, 2010

Video: 'The Daily Show' and a Calif. town's fear of communism 美左电视媒体采访“孔子课堂”

Video: 'The Daily Show' and a Calif. town's fear of communism


Video Link:

Map of Confucius Institutes in America, Link: 孔学院在美分布图,链锁:

. A program designed to teach Chinese language and culture to schoolchildren has one SoCal community seeing (communist) red.

In January, the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District approved the Confucius Classroom for Cedarlane Middle School in Hacienda Heights (map). Under the deal funded by the Chinese government, the district would get $30,000 for books, a laptop computer and other educational materials.

But the program doesn't sit well with opponents who include Mary Ann King, the ex-host of "Romper Room", Chinese activist Kai Chen and a newspaper. Their worry? That impressionable young minds will be exposed to Chinese propaganda, turning these tikes into little Commies. King told the Epoch Times:

"Children are so vulnerable. They are little sponges that absorb everything. We have to be very careful what we present to them, so that they will not lose their allegiance to America. I'm not against cultural exchange, but you can't indoctrinate our children."

Chen and former school district superintendent John Kramar recently reviewed the curriculum. They were both concerned by the accuracy of Chinese history and Chinese dictionary definitions. Chen said:

"Are we willing to sell our souls for $30,000, in order to promote another country's superiority over us?"

School board vice president Jay Chen did not believe the Confucius Classroom was trying to brainwash kids:

"From Oregon to Rhode Island, public schools have implemented the same program. As far as I can see, nothing sinister is going on."

The controversy attracted the attention of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and in April, producers filmed a school board meeting. Not exactly thrilled about the visit, King worried the show would "make fun of our situation here and turn it into something that is not serious."

Clearly she's never watched the show. In case you missed it, the segment is above.

Read more:


Daily Show takes on Confucius Institutes and their no good commie brainwashing

Link to Article:

There's been a lot of talk recently about Beijing's "soft power," one initiative of which is the many Confucius Institutes (272 in all!) popping up around the world. Unfortunately, some people in Hacienda Heights, California - a pretty darn Asian neighborhood to begin with - don't take too kindly to thems teachin' Chinese to thems childrens. And Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi was there to talk to them about it.

( The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Socialism Studies )

Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Watched the video? Funny, huh? In reality though, people opposed to the supposed China brainwashing scheme don't just include dowdy white ladies who seem to have bleached out their brains. In fact, one of the most prominent protesters of PRC influence on the educational sphere used to be part of the Red Army.

I'm not saying that Kai Chen or the lady in the video aren't extremely paranoid, but considering the very filtered view of the world we get here, thanks completely due to the Chinese government's iron fist on information, it's not exactly strange to wonder if their Chinese lessons may be washed out too.

Sure, it's fine when the lesson plans just include words like "you," "me," and "rainbows," but I remember my middle school learning book here in Shanghai was filled with stories of Communist heroes and my HSK prep materials have an almost insanely positive view of Chinese development over the last twenty years. Just sayin' - parents, the school board of Hacienda Heights is letting you review all the materials. And while Fox News and the Epoch Times are scaremongers and/or hideously xenophobic, it's not exactly a stretch to say that the "Chinese culture" classes may have been at least as carefully colored as an American History textbook.

No comments: