Hong Kong lawmakers ask Beijing to strengthen ‘patriotic education’

Beijing, China, Feb 9 (EFE).- Legislators from the National People’s Assembly and advisers from the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference from Hong Kong called for “strengthening patriotic education” in the former British colony, the Global Times reported Wednesday.

This year will mark the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, which is “a good opportunity to carry out in-depth patriotic education,” said Jonathan Choi Koon-shum, member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the conference. Choi said patriotic education in the territory should be extended “not only to schools but to the rest of society.”

“The establishment of an expert panel has been suggested to design the curriculum so that the classes are compatible with the patriotic spirit of Hong Kong and its situation,” Choi said.

In addition, Choi spoke of the need to “increase communication between teachers from Mainland China and those from Hong Kong by holding experience-sharing workshops.”

Assembly legislator Wong Kwan-yu said teachers “are the key to patriotic education” and that applicants’ “political identity” should be taken into account in the selection processes to hire teachers in Hong Kong – a common practice in mainland China specifying the political affiliation of candidates.

Wong said he had visited 40 Hong Kong schools in the past year and met more than 2,000 teachers, many of whom “have a very vague concept of the nation” and “don’t understand what China means to Hong Kong,” he said.

The legislator, quoted by Hong Kong media outlet Wen Wei Po, said he hoped this situation “does not spread to the next generation of Hong Kongers.”

Since anti-government protests in Hong Kong in 2019, Beijing has tightened its grip on the former British colony.

“Following the large-scale riots, we need to intensify national identity education work,” read a document from the Hong Kong Education Bureau in late 2021, adding that students “must correctly understand the constitution of mainland China, its culture and values, as well as respecting its national symbols”. EFE


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