Activist Who Tried to Get Mao Tossed From Nixon Library Now Takes on School
Kai Chen and his daughter Alex, then a Yale basketball player, at home in 2005.
Los Angeles-based, Chinese-American activist Kai Chen, who last September organized demonstrations against the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda for including in its permanent Hall of World Leaders exhibit a life-size statue Mao Tse-Tung, is now directing his ire at the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.
Chen with his parents in Nanjing, China, in 1977.
Chen--an author and former member of the Red Army and the Chinese national basketball team--is upset that Cedarlane Middle School in Hacienda Heights is set to offer a "Confucius Classroom."
At no cost to the district, a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization will provide instructors and teaching materials to teach students Chinese and about China's culture under the program the district's school board approved in January with a 4-1 vote.
In the name of promoting Confucius' teachings and the Chinese language, the Office of Chinese Language Council International, or "HanBan," has established 272 Confucius Classrooms worldwide since 2005. The collegiate version, Confucius Institutes, have been implemented in 282 universities over that same period.
But critics like Chen, who vehemently opposes what he views as an oppressive Chinese regime, charge "HanBan," which is affiliated with China's Ministry of Education, is really a front for the communist government.
"This is, among other schemes, one of the most insidious and blatant acts of the Chinese communist regime to infiltrate, corrupt and pollute American political culture," Chen wrote in a letter dated Friday to district Superintendent Barbara Nakaoka (and also posted on his blog).
"The untold intent of the Chinese government is to legitimize its own illegitimate and criminal regime, making despotism/tyranny acceptable as something only 'different' in the culture of freedom in America. By accepting such a philosophical premise, the poisonous effect of despotic narcotics will indeed penetrate the mindset of American youths, rendering it impotent and confused in the realm of morality and ethics."
Man, that sounds even worse than television.
Confuciusism numbs the mind enough to make it receptive to brutal regimes like China's, according to Chen, who also informs Nakaoka that news of the parent opposition to the Confucius Classroom reached mainland China, via a Chinese-language World Journal newspaper article titled, "Southern California Whites Protest Confucian Courses."
"It used racism/nationalism to confuse the real issue--the Chinese communist infiltration, encroachment and contamination upon the landscape of American political culture," Chen writes.
But as with the Mao statue in Yorba Linda, which the then-private Nixon Library installed back in 1990 alongside likenesses of other Nixon-era world leaders like Winston Churchill and Charles deGaulle, there's little Chen can do to stop the newest Confucius Classroom following the board approval.
That is, there is little he can do except organize protests, write letters and blog posts, and rile up the locals.
"I urge you and the members of Hacienda Heights School District authorities to reconsider the decision to allow the Chinese communist government to brainwash American Youths in such a blatant fashion," his letter concludes. "I urge all the parents of the students, teachers, and staff members of the school district to take action to resist and oppose such an anti-freedom course in our educational system. American Constitution is Not a suicide pact. Freedom does not mean 'freedom to abuse and destroy freedom.'"
Sounds like something Confucius would have said.
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