China Fears “Political SAT” May Impose American Values on Students


The Chinese community is unhappy with the revised SAT exam pattern as it imposes unnecessary American values on its students.

Almost one-third of all foreign students in the United States are from China, Chronicle reports. Last year, more than 235,000 were enrolled at American Universities.

In March, the U.S. College Board, decided to introduce important historical documents in one part of the SAT test, called the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, effective spring 2016.

"The vital issues central to these documents - freedom, justice, and human dignity among them - have motivated numerous people in the United States and around the globe," the College Board said, LA Times reports.

Chinese opponents to the redesigned U.S. college entry exam claimed that while preparing for the SATs, their students might be studying the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and content from America's founding documents instead of "The Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung".

The Chinese Communist Party has always considered these core values - freedom, justice and human rights - as a threat to its rule. Promotion of such values has landed activists in jail. For example, Human rights advocate Xu Zhiyong was sentenced in January to four years in prison.

Kelly Yang, author of the South China Morning Post, argued that the fresh focus on civil liberties may "change the mind-set and world view of an entire generation of Chinese youth."

"If the new SAT succeeds, it will be the first time America is able to systematically shape the views, beliefs and ideologies of hundreds of thousands of Chinese students every year, not through a popular television show or a politician's speaking tour, but through what the Chinese care about most - exams," Yang said.

Inculcating Communist ideology among Chinese youth has always been a key focus of the government. Students over there are mandated enroll in Communist ideology classes starting first grade. On the other hand, Chinese college entrance exams contain questions regarding core Communist theories like Marxism and Maoism.

Some Chinese intellectuals are urging the government to ease its control on students instead of criticizing a foreign exam.

"I don't think they have grounds to question what's in the SAT before they cancel all the 'political classes' in Chinese schools," said Zhang Ming, a political science professor at People's University in Beijing.

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