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China’s TV Covers the Importance of Aesthetic Education in Chinese Schools

Oct. 31. 2019 (EIRNS)—China’s CGTN television network ran a news item on a special children’s program in arts education in Shanghai which it held up as an example of programs responding to President Xi Jinping’s emphasis on the importance of the arts in developing real citizens.

The story showed the children playing instruments and others working on acting out small dramas, and interviewed Chinese pianist Lang Lang, who has become an international figure in the arts and a cultural icon in China. Lang Lang underlined the importance of learning an instrument, and reported that 40 million people in China are studying piano. “Everybody should learn to play,” he argues.

The moderator then interviewed Duo Lan, a research associate at the Institute of Education at Tsinghua University, on the importance of the arts. The moderator observes that there has been a strong push from the government for arts education as well as on sports.  “Sports is very down-to-earth and penetrates society,” Duo Lan said, “but much more is needed. I would like to broaden the issue and talk about aesthetic education. This includes the arts but it also includes aesthetics and humanity.”

The moderator, who had no real understanding of what the researcher was getting at, mentioned the arts as a part of “soft power,” and compared it to the new emphasis on sports in China. Duo Lan politely shifted the discussion out of banality and back to the higher order issue. “Well, let’s imagine that people want to have their ‘soft power’ and pursue their interests and their hobbies, and in that way achieve a more beautiful mind. This would lead to the harmonious world that we really want to achieve,” she said. She stressed, in particular, that such education is important to introduce at an early stage for children who are at the beginning of their learning process.

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