Three related articles about education and values in China

My internet circumstances at the moment (on the road, Shandong province) don't permit more than a list of three links, but: Anyone who is interested in the implications of China's educational system for China's future and for the rest of the world should read these three articles, ideally in one sitting.

First, "China's Boxed Itself In," an op-ed by Randy Pollock two days ago in the Los Angeles Times.

Then, "Cry for Freedom," a nearly full-page illustrated feature by Gong Yidong in China Daily this morning.

Finally, "Rank Corruption," a China Daily editorial today.

American press reports about Chinese education tend to have a 70/30 split. The 70% is: Oh my, China is producing a billion engineers a year! They are sure to take over the world! Woe is us. Why can't we learn from them? The 30% is: Chinese education is terrible and it means that Chinese organizations will never truly "innovate." Woe is them.

Obviously both are oversimplifications, but read these articles and consider which is a grosser distortion of the truth. More to say later. Also bear in mind (as a reminder for the zillionth time) that China Daily is the state controlled voice to the outside world, and two long, related articles with the same somewhat edgy theme don't appear on the same day by accident.