Inclusive mind is crucial for social progress

Updated: 2015-02-05 08:50

By Zhu Yuan(China Daily)

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Inclusive mind is crucial for social progress

Santa Claus from Rovaniemi comes to the Floraland Park in Wenjiang district in Chengdu, Sichuan province on Dec 24 to spend Christmas Eve with visitors. [Photo provided to China Daily]

'What is it about our clothes that other people seem unable to resist? Is dressing like us about wanting to be like us? Clearly, this is about more than just clothes. It is about embracing an entire popular culture that extends through music and movies, to say nothing of the soft drinks and fast food." This is what Niall Ferguson says in his book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, about how Western values with industrial power behind them have been embraced by the rest of the world over the past more than one century.

While talking about Western values, we Chinese can never deny or ignore that, without learning from the West, China would not have become what it is now - the second-largest economy in the world.

So when Yuan Guiren, minister of education, said on Friday that textbooks disseminating Western values should never be allowed in our classrooms, he should have anticipated how strongly people, intellectuals in particular, would react.

Anachronism is what first came to my mind after reading his remarks.

Behind the Western values are an industry characterized by modern machines and the preceding inventions that brought about revolutionary changes in people's lives. As for clothes, it would have been impossible for Western suits and dresses to become popular all over the world without the development of the modern textile industry and the sewing machine invented by Isaac Singer in the United States.

The same is true of the label "made in China," which would not have been popular across the world without the reform and opening-up that were launched more than three decades ago.

Of course, not all things that represent Western values are good; most of the soft drinks, for example. But the modern appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators, microwave ovens and air conditioners that make our life convenient are also Western inventions. Modern education is also from the West.

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