Chinese communists have given up on the past of conflicts and struggles in favor of a short, technology-filled present:

When high school students in Shanghai crack their history textbooks this fall they may be in for a surprise. The new standard world history text drops wars, dynasties and Communist revolutions in favor of colorful tutorials on economics, technology, social customs and globalization.

Socialism has been reduced to a single, short chapter in the senior high school history course. Chinese Communism before the economic reform that began in 1979 is covered in a sentence. The text mentions Mao only once –— in a chapter on etiquette.

Amazingly, they not only bleach out decades of red revolution, but they reduce all history to a bland stew of socio-economic progress.

“History does not belong to emperors or generals,” Mr. Zhou said in an interview. “It belongs to the people. It may take some time for others to accept this, naturally, but a similar process has long been under way in Europe and the United States.”

Mr. Zhou said the new textbooks followed the ideas of the French historian Fernand Braudel. Mr. Braudel advocated including culture, religion, social customs, economics and ideology into a new ““total history.” That approach has been popular in many Western countries for more than half a century.

Mr. Braudel elevated history above the ideology of any nation. China has steadily moved away from its ruling ideology of Communism, but the Shanghai textbooks are the first to try examining it as a phenomenon rather than preaching it as the truth.

Please, bring the Braudel, but could someone get Mr. Zhou a copy of The Mediterranean? He put the usual history of politics and ideology in its place, but he did not obliterate the event from history.

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