History textbooks for Chinese students have mentioned the country’s Covid pandemic
History textbooks for Chinese students have mentioned the country’s Covid pandemic response for the first time.
Images of the book have been circulating online, sparking discussions over the country’s narrative on its fight against Covid.
Chinese Communist Party leaders declared a “decisive victory” over the virus earlier this year.
The country has also been accused of not being transparent in sharing coronavirus data.
A short clip showing a paragraph of a history textbook for grade eight students on Douyin, China’s domestic version of TikTok, started trending on Wednesday.
Uploaded by a user who appears to be a history teacher, the caption of the video post reads: “It’s already written in the history book.”
A copy of the book, published by the country’s major textbook publisher People’s Education Press, has been obtained by the BBC. The Covid reference appears in the section featuring “changes in social life”.
Next to a paragraph describing increasing Chinese incomes and lifestyle changes since the country opened up in the 1970s, a text box mentioned Covid.
“Our country adheres to the supremacy of the people and the life… protected people’s life safety and health to the largest extent,” it reads.
“We achieved major achievements in coordinating the prevention and control of the epidemic.”
Soon after the start of the pandemic in 2020, China adopted a strict “zero-Covid” policy which allows authorities to implement lockdowns and force people into quarantine camps.
The majority of the restrictions were lifted in December after widespread protests in the country against the policy.
The textbook’s narrative echoes Chinese leaders’ declaration of victory over the virus, but many people have questioned whether it contains the whole truth.
“Is there any mention of how it ended?” a user commented on Douyin, where the topic of “history textbook includes Covid response” has been viewed more than 500 million times.
“How come you have the face to write it in there?” another comment reads.
Most people’s comments also reflected the passing of time over the last three years.
“We witnessed history,” a top-liked comment under the clip says.
China claims it has one of the world’s lowest Covid fatality rates. According to data from the World Health Organization, there have been 120,923 deaths in the country since 3 January 2020.
China has been widely accused of underreporting coronavirus deaths, despite evidence of hospitals and crematoriums being overrun.
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