The Gaokao is going back to the past in a bid to force a generation of emoji users to embrace their Classical Chinese roots. Beijing students will have to break out (or download) a copy of the 18th-century classic Dream of the Red Chamber, (红楼梦 Hónglóu mèng), to prepare for the 2017 university entrance exam.
The Beijing News reports that the Cao Xueqin novel was one of several works included in the new edition of the Gaokao "Examination Study Guide" published by the Beijing Education Examinations Authority this week. The study guide is seen as a preview for that year's Gaokao, the multi-day national university entrance examination usually held in June.
If you're not up on your "Redology," think Downton Abbey meets Game of Thrones meets Keeping up with the Kardashians. It's a long novel about a rich family involving a considerable amount of romantic intrigue and just enough naughty bits to keep those uninterested in historical fiction flipping through to the good parts. (It's also completely awesome, and I highly recommend reading the David Hawke's translation in its entirety.