Removal of classic Chinese literature segment depicting failed uprising from textbook is “an academic adjustment”: editor in chief
Published: Feb 25, 2019 10:33 PM

Students read new version of Chinese textbooks at Kangzhuang Center Primary School in Handan, North China's Hebei Province. Photo: VCG

The removal of classic Chinese writing that depicts an uprising movement in the late Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC) from middle school textbook is "a purely academic adjustment," a chief editor of the textbook said on Monday.

Wen Rumin, the editor in chief for the textbook, told the media that such content adjustment is nothing but for academic purpose, and there is no need for further explanation, as there is not any background or context taken into consideration for such decision.

Wen added that the new textbook has yet to be published.

Hereditary Houses of Chen She, a fragment of the some 2,000-year-old Sima Qian's classic Records of the Grand Historian, better known as Shiji, has been removed from the national unified middle school textbook on Chinese language and literature for unknown reasons, netizens on Chinese twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo exposed recently, Chengdu-based Red Star news reported on Monday.

The national unified Chinese language and literature textbook in question refers to the one complied by the Ministry of Education, and published by People's Education Press, the report said.

The chapter of Shiji in question documents the Dazexiang Uprising, better known as the Uprising of Chen Sheng and Wu Guang, named after its two leaders Chen and Wu, who served as army officers before the movement.

Their uprising against the Qin's harsh rule was the first of its kind after the death of Emperor Qinshihuang, according to Shiji.Che Sheng styled himself as Chen She.

The insurrection led by Chen and Wu failed, but Chen's remarks "Are kings and nobles given their high status by birth," passed on through generations.

The People's Education Press late on Monday issued a statement over the change, saying that Hereditary Houses of Chen She was included in the old textbook for the Chinese language and literature subject. 

However, since the history of the Uprising of Chen Sheng and Wu Guang will be detailed in the history textbook for seventh graders, including Chen's classic remarks, to avoid inter-disciplinary overlap and considering the significant status of Shiji in Chinese literature, the publishing house shall replace the Hereditary Houses of Chen She with another fragment from Shiji for the eighth grade language and literature textbook, which tells the story of Zhou Yafu. 

Zhou, is a Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) general who put down the Rebellion of the Seven States.

The replacement story shows Zhou's image as a strict general who effectively manages the army with definite discipline and fears not power, and the article itself is short and full of stories, which the publisher said, "is fit for middle schoolers to study."

Global Times