During the first week of September 2010, Chinese media widely reported changes to official school literature textbooks, including the switching out of a number of well-known works from such literary greats as Lu Xun (鲁迅) and Ba Jin (巴金). Some commentators, including many Internet users, rued the changes, even suggesting there was a conspiracy to jettison works by Lu Xun. Others said the changes were routine and understandable and that media were building sensational stories out of thin air. In this cartoon, posted by artist Shang Haichun (商海春) to his QQ blog, the character Ah Q from Lu Xun’s 1921 work The True Story of Ah Q, is being booted out of a large book that reads “Literature Text.” Ah Q, a poor, illiterate peasant prone to crippling self-deception and cravenness, was Lu Xun’s own criticism of the Chinese national character as he understood it. As he is kicked out of the book, Ah Q says: “There we go, beaten again.”

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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