BEIJING: Chinese authorities have removed the Bible story from secondary school text books, days after its inclusion in the curriculum sparked a controversy in the communist nation.
The co-compiler of a Chinese textbook used in Beijing secondary schools said the "controversial Bible story" has been removed from the book after facing criticism that it spread Western values, state-run Global Times reported today.
The Beijing Academy of Educational Science (BAES), one of the textbook's two compilers and a textbook selection consultant for capital education authorities, said it had removed the content from the textbook and schools will begin to use the revised version in the upcoming fall semester, the report said.
The BAES has included extracts from the Bible's Book of Genesis in its Chinese language textbook for first-year middle school students.
The ruling Communist Party of China remained largely atheistic and discourages its members from practicing any religion though it permits practice of religion in general.
While China before the advent of Communist rule in 1949 was predominantly influenced by Buddhism which was brought to the country by t Chinese monks like Xuan Zang during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Christianity has taken deep routes in the country in recent decades despite restrictions.
Buddhism still remained a dominant faith in China but Christianity is regarded as the fastest growing religion.
Unofficial estimates say China has over 65 million Christians including Catholics, Protestants as well as other church groups.
China has over 21 million Muslims who included Uyghurs in Xinjiang and Hui community in Xinjiang and Ningxia provinces.
The Bible story in the text book triggered heated discussion online, as some netizens questioned why the Christian content appeared in a textbook in a secular country.
An employee from BAES previously told the Beijing Youth Daily that they had included the Bible story to broaden students' horizons by introducing them to Western mythology.
Columnist Wang Xiaoshi published a commentary saying that the textbook violates China's Education Law, which mandates that China adopt the principle of separation of education and religion, the report said.