Chinese Propaganda? Textbook Used in Victorian Schools Recalled After Found Misleading

The controversial book includes some sections that experts believe are 'straight out of the party playbook'

A Chinese textbook used in some of the Victorian schools in Australia has been recalled after experts pointed out misleading content. The experts pointed out that the textbook is showing a controversial map of China owning 90 percent of the South China Sea.

The Senior Chinese Course: Chinese Language, Culture, and Society textbook--was being used in VCE classes at 11 schools in Victoria. Now, it is believed that the book was promoting pro-Beijing propaganda. As per the reports, a total of 633 copies of the book have been sold in Australia.

Misleading Textbook

Australia textbook

As reported by The Guardian, Professor Rory Medcalf, head of the Australian National University's national security college, said "it is highly misleading" to portray the nine-dash line inside an educational book as a legitimate map of China and the region. He also noted that for it to appear in a school textbook in Australia "puts it at odds not only with the sensitivities of much of the region," but also with international law and the policy of the Australian government.

There were also two pages published in the textbook that were called 'Chinese Dream.' As per Prof Medcalf, it is "straight out of the party [CCP] playbook."

The authors of this controversial textbook are Xu Jixing and Ha Wei, both in charge of Chinese at two prestigious private schools at Melbourne—Scotch College and Camberwell Grammar. As per the authors, it was "never intended to take a political stance," while Cengage—the publisher of the textbook—has apologized for the "carelessness" in the map, insisting the nine-dash line was actually an "editorial oversight."

The South China Sea Issues

The latest round of military drills by China in the South China Sea area is meant to send a message to others that Beijing is preparing to fight on multiple fronts, said experts. In July, China had announced that it held drills in the South China Sea involving long-range bombers and other aircraft.

As per the South China Morning Post, Collin Koh—a research fellow at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore—said that the current drills, held simultaneously in four locations, were designed to send a message.

However, the vast majority of China's claims in the South China Sea region were dismissed as unlawful by a Hague tribunal in 2016, a ruling which the ruling CCP has continued to defy. Recently, the U.S. has also dismissed Beijing's claims and started its own operations in the region.