Children Changing 'History'

Britain defeated China in the so-called Opium War of the 19th century. But today's Chinese high-schoolers can use their knowledge of it to change history by defeating Britain in new interactive CD-ROMs. These were displayed at the recent children's book fair in Beijing, according to a report about government hopes of luring young Chinese away from popular Japanese and Disney cartoon imports. All part of Chinese leader Jiang Zemin's drive for "spiritual civilization."

Chinese schools have been known for stern methods to offset the spoiling by parents and grandparents assumed in one-child families. Teachers may be aided by a new homegrown cartoon-book character, Soccer Boy. He and his team learn discipline and win hearts in 60 installments.

They come from a press in Sichuan Province whose children coincidentally are sharing their art with Americans in a touring exhibition arranged by Eastern Washington University. One of the items is "A Street Scene in the Civic Virtue Drive." Something we'd like to see on every corner.

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