Building for the future by expatiating the past: high drama from the summit of China's learning mountain
As part of a large‐scale learning initiative, the Chinese Communist Party has declared Lushan to be a ‘learning mountain'. There have been people learning at Lushan Mountain for 2000 years. In 1959 there was a Central Committee meeting at Lushan, where Mao Zedong purged his widely respected comrade Peng Dehuai for daring to say people were starving because of the Great Leap Forward. Everyone knew Peng spoke the truth but few dared antagonize the Chairman. Today the 1959 purge of Peng is seen as the end of comrades and consensus and beginning of dictatorship. There were other tumultuous meetings there in 1961 and 1970. Hence, reconstructing Lushan as a learning mountain is an attempt to expatiate the past and build a more humane future. In addition, putting learning at the top of the mountain brings tourists! The authors analyze the Chinese learning initiative and describe the political significance of Lushan. Theoretically, the learning mountain is shaped by Jiang Zemin's ‘three represents', first‐generation (Faure report) lifelong education and, most surprisingly, humanist/interpretivism. At Lushan, the 21st century might best be assured by learning from the first century. Zhu Xi was wise and, 2000 years ago, not enthused by learning in schools. Now as then, why go to school when you can learn on a mountain?
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