Chinese as a Focus Language in Schools

Lately there seems to be a big push for bringing Chinese as a focus language into school systems. The weight behind the decision of the language in my mind bears equal weight to espousing the ideals of the country that uses that same language. Chinese is a prime example of this. To endorse the Chinese language is to endorse its ideals. I am absolutely not, by any means, an isolationist. I am simply suggesting that it indirectly endorses in the minds of our children the ideals that the country presently holds. I am, by no means, advocating not learning a foreign language. To the contrary, being bi-lingual has benefitted me immeasurably in understanding the mindsets of other cultures. What I am saying is that the foreign language be a matter of choice and not a formal endorsement of one language over another.

Using China as the example and as a matter of history, The People’s Republic came about through the genocide inflicted by Mao Tse Tung. This should not be compared to the American Revolution which was a movement designed to structure the “Great Experiment” that is the United States of America which is a government by the people and for the people but instead was brought about by the “political power that grows out of the barrel of a gun” as Mao put it himself.

Under his reign, Mao starved 700k of his own men, women and children. In the span of his reign over 50 million were killed by his hand.

As hinted before, understanding the mindset of other cultures has given me a greater appreciation for American exceptional-ism which I believe would be undermined in the minds of our children should we endorse one foreign language (or focus on one alone) as opposed to granting them a choice of their own.  As a side note, please allow me to clarify that the term “American exceptional ism” does not mean better than or superior in any way, shape or form but what it does mean is that we live in a country where the freedom to create, learn and achieve is granted to individuals who wish to embark on that journey and are free to do so.

As a child of divorce, poverty and abuse I can attest to the benefits of that freedom which has allowed me to choose my own path. We have the freedom to try whereas in most other countries that freedom has been taken away by either a repressive or corrupt government who sought its own gain under the guise of taking care of the poor. Here we have the freedom to express and worship whereas in most other countries expression is met with dire consequences. I simply feel that we should not nudge our children into a position where they may come to possibly admire a country with lesser freedoms than our own. So to clarify, I believe it is one thing to create an official foreign language and focus on that than it is to simply give the option of learning it.

Although I speak fluent Spanish I am not advocating endorsing Spanish as an official language either. What I am advocating is the freedom of choice and that each student given the opportunity to pursue the language that he/she feels will lead them to whatever destiny they have in store and that they may find it for themselves.

Think you want to be like the Chinese?

Here are some interesting facts about China according to the Business Insider.

140 million Chinese farmers have had their farms seized by the government in the past 17 years.

Since 2003, the cost of housing in China has tripled.

If he spent his entire yearly income on housing, the average Beijing resident could buy 6 square feet of residential property.

China has 64 million vacant homes. Entire cities are empty.

Chinese credit card debt is projected to surge 600 times in five years.

500 million Chinese living on less than $2 a day

493 mass protests every day.

When you buy Chinese stocks you’re financing the government

China executes 3x as many people as the rest of the world combined.

20% of Chinese exports go to the United States

 

Having worked in the music industry as an international marketing manager, I can personally attest to the fact that China is the world’s leading source in illegally copied music, software, clothes and other goods. Chinese government sanctioned piracy costs the United States around $50 billion in sales each year. 90% of lawsuits in China are for copyright infringements. 43% of American companies have seen their products duplicated in China.
I know it sounds like I’m overly criticizing China and I don’t mean to be. I prefer to see it as lifting up the United States. I grow weary of folks who don’t appreciate what we have and take our country for granted. I don’t know about you but I would rather our children lead than follow. I would rather our children invent and producerather than submit to the ideals of another country.Instead of surrendering the minds of our kids why not focus on honing their technological and/or creative skills? Why not teach them to be the innovators? Steve Jobs did pretty good. I’m sure there are more Steve Jobs out there somewhere but if we keep striving to become like someone else they will never have a chance to thrive. The last great invention that came out of China was the explosive and that was in 1161.
Try inventing something in China and see what happens to your invention.
Leonardo Ramirez is an author of prose fiction and graphic novels in the genres of Young Adult and Children’s Books. For more information please visit http://www.leonardoverse.com.Thanks for reading!

  • This is a very well written atlicre about China. I have been waiting for an atlicre like this for a long time because it hit the jackpot: China is trying to change the status quo by playing zero-sum game. This author listed 3 excellent examples about China’s recent behavior towards its neighbors: indifferent attitude on the sinking of South Korea’s naval ship, economic sanction on Japan based on Chinese fishermen being arrested, and lack of willingness to give Taiwan more international recognition even with pro-China Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou in power. Plus, China has territorial disputes with other neighbors like Vietnam and Philippine in the South China sea. Those that disagreed with this atlicre failed to see the main point. China’s proud history, current economic and political systems, and lending U.S. money are completely separated issues from the frame of reference that has taken place in East Asia since WWII. The current frame of reference in East Asia is agreed upon by the democratic countries in the area. For China to challenge the status quo, it has to do the opposite of the expected behavior. This is why for 3 years Obama could never get what he wanted from the Chinese leadership which is corporation on major issues. Nobody is trying to challenge China. No country will ever invade China again. This is because time has changed. It is China that is trying to challenge the norm. My gut feeling is that China is following the foot step of Imperial Japan. Zero-sum game is a dangerous game that can lead to clashes and even wars. Unfortunately, the CCP is very good at playing such game just ask the KMT that fleet Taiwan in 1949. I would not be surprise if confrontation occurs in the near future between China, and the U.S. and its allies.

  • That's great feedback Karen. What is meant by focus is that they will choose one language and bring in teachers from China to teach our kids the language. There is also talk of using one of the schools as a Chinese language institute.

  • I completely agree with you that our kids should be able to make their own choices about foreign language classes. I'm not exactly sure what is meant my bringing it in as a focus language. I think it is a good to offer it as an option so long as the focus is on language and not on pushing Chinese agendas or beliefs. My husband speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese. He learned it as an Intelligence Analyst while he was in the Army – and it was his choice to learn it. After being intensively trained, he never had the opportunity to use it. Years later God led him to do missionary work in China – reaching out to people who have never heard the gospel in a place where Christianity is forbidden. He travels there a couple of times a year, and his Chinese language training is a huge advantage for him.Though there seemed to be no good reason for the language training at the time, God had a purpose and plan. So, as a language option, I'm all for it in our schools. As an emphasis in the school curriculum – no way. It should have no heavier weight than any other foreign language offered.