CHINA: Pupils must get the full picture

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Congratulations to the pupils of King Edward VI School for their achievements so far in learning Mandarin, (Morpeth Herald, February 28).

Learning Chinese is a great opportunity for young people, but it’s very important that they also gain the full picture about China.

A senior Chinese official has described the Confucius Institute programme, which is behind the learning experience of these students, as “an important part of our overseas propaganda”.

China’s government pays for this project because it promotes a positive image of its country.

If pupils study China, but learn nothing about its occupation of Tibet, its denial of freedom to its own citizens and its appalling human rights record, then, however good the teaching, propaganda is what they are getting.

We hope teachers will also be ensuring that they learn about the dark side of life in China and Tibet, as well as what Beijing wants them to learn.

Alistair Currie

Campaigns and Media Manager, Free Tibet