Online debate has been stirred by a history textbook for Chinese kids that makes the first mention of the nation’s response to the Covid pandemic.
Some people challenge the accuracy of the book’s brief account of the nation’s battle against Covid. Earlier this year, authorities of the Chinese Communist Party proclaimed a “decisive victory” over the virus. Additionally, the nation has been charged with withholding coronavirus data transparency.
On Douyin, China’s own version of TikTok, a little video depicting a passage from a history textbook for eighth-graders went viral on Wednesday. The description of the video footage, which was uploaded by a user who looks to be a history teacher, reads: “It’s already written in the history books.” The BBC has obtained a copy of the book, which was written by the nation’s top textbook author and publisher People’s Education Press. The section titled “Changes in Social Life” has the Covid reference. A text box mentioning the “war on Covid” appears next to a paragraph on rising Chinese earnings and lifestyle modifications after the nation opened up in the 1970s.
The document states that “Our country adhered to the supremacy of the people and the life…protected people’s life safety and health to the greatest extent.” “We coordinated the prevention and control of the pandemic, and we made significant progress.” China enacted a stringent “zero-Covid” policy shortly after the pandemic began in 2020, enabling authorities to impose lockdowns and send victims to isolation camps.
After huge nationwide protests against the policy in December, the majority of the limitations were lifted. The story in the textbook parallels the proclamation of victory over the virus made by Chinese government, although many individuals have questioned whether it is entirely accurate. On Douyin, where the article “History textbook includes Covid response” has been viewed more than five million times, a user asked, “Is there any mention of how it ended?” One user said, “How do you have the audacity to put it in there?,” and another added, “Every single character on that page seems to be mocking our painful three years.” The majority of people’s remarks also illustrated how the pandemic’s duration had passed.
The most well-liked remark beneath the clip reads, “We witnessed history.” China claims to have one of the lowest rates of COVID fatalities worldwide. Since the third day of 2020, there have been 120,923 fatalities in the nation, according to figures from the World Health Organization. Despite their being evidence of hospitals and crematoriums being inundated, China has frequently been accused of underreporting coronavirus mortality.