A Chinese influencer who once spoke at a conference hosted by President Xi Jinping has claimed that learning English is a “waste of energy” and is just a “trash skill”.
Hua Qianfang, who has 1.5 million followers on the Chinese social network Weibo, claimed that learning English not only costs Chinese people a lot of money, it also robs their children of their happy childhood.
The influencer called English a “trash skill” that “wastes countless energy and money”.
Qianfang added: “Those who defend learning English are nothing more than industry practitioners and some ideologically self-dwarfing slaves.”
“A professional translation team can solve the issue of English-language materials or Wikipedia. There is no need for everyone to blindly learn it.”
The language has been on the Chinese curriculum in Chinese primary schools since the 1990s and many English-language schools have reportedly become profitable businesses.
However, Qianfang believes: “Western language will lead to a western way of thinking.”
Forbes reported in 2012 that there were around 100,000 native English speakers working as language teachers in China and this number is believed to have increased since then.
In 2013, education spokesman Wang Xuming repeatedly called for the Chinese authorities to remove English from the curriculum and instead dedicate the time and resources to Chinese culture studies.
In 2014, Qianfang spoke at a conference hosted by President Xi Jinping on Chinese art and culture.
Netizens had a lot to say about Qianfang’s controversial assessment of the English language.
One Weibo user commented: “What’s wrong with learning more about the world? Chinese people are not so arrogant as to think the English-speaking countries are not worth exploring.”
Another netizen accused Qianfang of being “arrogant and self-demeaning at the same time”.