Monday, 1 September 2014

Imposing American Values on Chinese Youth?

Chinese students take the SATs in the hopes of escaping this scenario
Hong Kongers feel helpless following Beijing's decision on how the next chief executive will be elected in 2017.

And tonight Central was crawling with police -- posted on overhead walkways and police vans filled with officers wearing flourescent vests were ready to move at a moment's notice.

But nothing has happened -- yet.

However, we can take some comfort in the United States College Board being accused of imposing American values on China's best and brightest in the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

That's because the board announced plans in March to redesign the SAT to include US founding documents in a portion of the test called the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing by spring 2016.

"The vital issues central to these documents -- freedom, justice, and human dignity among them -- have motivated numerous people in the United States and around the globe," the College Board said.

But those are the exact values that the Chinese Communist Party has deemed as threatening to its rule -- Chinese activists who have tried to promote such values have been silenced or imprisoned, like Xu Zhiyong, who was sentenced to four years in prison who started the New Citizens Movement.

Hong Kong columnist Kelly Yang is the one who brought this to the attention of Beijing, saying the focus on civil liberties may "change the mindset and world view of an entire generation of Chinese youth".

"If the new SAT succeeds, it will be the first time America is able to systematically shape the views, beliefs and ideologies of hundreds of thousands of Chinese students every year, not through a popular television show or a politician's speaking tour, but through what the Chinese care about most -- exams," Yang wrote.

She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School.

Will the SAT single-handedly indoctrinate mainland Chinese students? For most of them eager to study in the US, they have already bought into what America stands for and the exam is a way to make them really study the rights and freedoms they have heard about.

Nevertheless it is amusing to find the Chinese government is very worried about this latest possible development, of brainwashing its people with foreign ideologies.

Could China then make the argument the US is meddling in its internal affairs?


  1. If parents in China do not want their children to pick up ideas about freedom and democracy, and the rule of law, vs the rule of a single political party, then they have an easy choice - just DON'T send their kids to American schools. Send your kids to a university in Beijing. End of your problem, right?

    Steven McShane

    1. HI Steven McShane -- Agreed! But that lure of the green card and kids getting better jobs because they have a better education is sooo tempting!