Chinese Education under Communism

Chinese Education under Communism

Chinese Education under Communism

Chinese Education under Communism

Excerpt

There has always been a paradox about revolutions: on the one hand, they represent a break with history; on the other hand, they are inevitably circumscribed by history. No matter how much the revolutionary seeks to "overthrow all existing social conditions," he finds himself, willy-nilly, a creature of time and place, of folkway and tradition. Thus, in our own era, it has been something of a cliché to remark that the Russian revolution becomes more Russian and less of a revolution as the years pass. And thus, too, we note the fascinating counterpoint of change and continuity as the Chinese Communists seek to escape from two thousand years of history.

Professor Hu is ever aware of this paradox as he traces the massive reform of Chinese education during the past ten years. He is dealing with an enterprise of unsurpassed dimensions, involving, according to government statistics, well-nigh 100,000,000 students in a vast variety of schools, and even greater numbers beyond the schools. Moreover, it is an enterprise infused throughout with the missionary zeal of Communist ideology. The goal, as Mr. Lu Ting-Yi, Chief of the Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee once indicated, is nothing less than the total overturn of "old traditions in educational work that have persisted for thousands of years." Whether the effort will succeed remains to be seen; the fact is that impressive strides have been made to date, and, as Professor Hu persuasively contends, we cannot understand the contemporary world apart from them.

LAWRENCE A. CREMIN

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