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Letter from Beijing: The backlash against English

Why is the Chinese government discouraging learning our language?

By Helen Gao   July 2014

“Stopping English lessons is the same as building the Great Fire Wall for our internet… It’s a step backward, motivated by political conservatism.” © Rex Pe

In April, I started a job teaching English to two Chinese employees at the Beijing branch of a multinational company. I imagined my students would be recent graduates, around my age, and eager to learn how to actually speak the language they have spent their life studying. It turned out, however, that Ken and Margaret are both in their 40s, hold senior positions at the…

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