Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Forward March

Chinese classrooms are not air conditioned, so the windows are open.  During class last night, my students and I were serenaded by hundreds of Chinese youth singing patriotic songs.
Military training is mandatory for all Chinese students.  It is given for several weeks during high school and again during the Freshman year of university.  Students march around in the heat and listen to lectures about their duty.  The students detest it.
The practice, which began in 1990 in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre, is supposed to develop self-discipline and loyalty to China.  Actually, it fosters resentment.
Military training used to be conducted during the first few weeks of university, but now they do it in summer school, at the END of the Freshman year.  It’s the very worst time, because it’s hotter now than in the Fall, and the kids have been on this campus for nearly a year and feel the campus is theirs. The soldiers that come in to train them are thus viewed as outsiders.  There are over three thousand Freshmen here, and they are all participating. It’s a reminder that China is still a military dictatorship.

1 comment:

Amy said...

It is easy to forget how different it is for others in this world when you live in the United States. It is good to be reminded that the freedoms we take for granted are only dreamed of by others.

What does tomorrow mean? It is 5:30 pm here, but at home it’s 5:00 in the morning. I leave Weihai tomorrow and make a stop in Beijing. ...