China’s Ministry of Education has approved a new history textbook for secondary school students, which includes a section on the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The inclusion of the “COVID war” has sparked discussions among scholars and citizens alike.
What’s in the textbook?
The chapter on the pandemic covers the timeline of the outbreak, China’s response, and its success in controlling the virus. The chapter also highlights the country’s solidarity and cooperation with other nations in fighting the pandemic.
The chapter is part of a larger section on the country’s achievements since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012. It covers topics such as China’s economic development, poverty alleviation, environmental protection, and the Belt and Road Initiative.
Why the controversy?
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The inclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic in a history textbook has raised eyebrows among scholars, who argue that it is still too early to determine the long-term impact of the pandemic on China and the world. Some have also criticized the chapter for glossing over early missteps in China’s handling of the outbreak.
Others have questioned the timing of the release of the textbook, which comes amid a renewed focus on China’s handling of the pandemic and its origin. The textbook could be seen as an attempt by the Chinese government to shape the narrative around the pandemic and deflect criticism.
The Government’s Stance
The Chinese government has defended the inclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic in the textbook, arguing that it is an important part of China’s recent history. The government has also emphasized China’s success in controlling the virus and providing assistance to other countries.
However, some experts have pointed out that the textbook’s emphasis on China’s success in fighting the pandemic could be seen as an attempt to downplay the role of other countries in the global effort.