More than 300 universities in China have adopted a new English textbook, ‘The New Era,’ that includes speeches by President Xi Jinping about ‘anti-Americanism’ and ‘Praising of Socialism" from the new school year that started this month, according to the Financial Times on Sunday. Engaging in a hegemonic rivalry with the U.S., China has been cutting back on English language education and is to use textbooks containing mostly Chinese nationalist ideas for its remaining English education.
The five textbooks include speeches by President Xi against U.S. aggression and contents that suggest many Chinese students who have studied abroad in the U.S. have had trouble finding jobs after returning home because they have been imbued with a Western mindset. Instead of getting an introduction to Western culture, students are asked to praise China's cultural achievements and translate them into English. The authors of the new textbook say in the preface that many problems have arisen because of the focus on Western culture in existing textbooks and do not hesitate to reveal their desire to rectify this.
China has been promoting English education since the late 1970s, when Deng Xiaoping, who emphasized reform and opening up, came to power. At the time, English textbooks contained a variety of references to Western culture, including the Statue of Liberty as New York City’s icon, and Barbie dolls. In addition, since 1987, students have been required to achieve a certain score on the English language test to graduate from university.