Hong Kong hunger strikes over new Chinese 'patriotism' classes
Hunger strikes and mass protests have greeted the beginning of the school year in Hong Kong over plans by Beijing to introduce classes which critics say will “brainwash” children with the Chinese Communist party’s version of history. Yesterday saw the sixth straight day of protests against the new “moral and national education” classes. The protests are now threatening to overshadow elections to the Legislative Council on Sunday.
This year marks the introduction of “moral and national education” classes, although the programme will not become compulsory until 2015.
No full curriculum has yet been issued, but the idea behind the classes is to bridge the gap between the Chinese mainland, where patriotic education classes have been mandatory since the beginning of the Communist era, and Hong Kong, whose residents proudly insist on their independence and often express a snarling contempt for some of their compatriots.
Opposition to the plan first blew up after some teaching guidelines for the classes became public earlier this summer, including a glossing over of the Tiananmen Square protests and proud support for one-party rule. In turn, the issue has been exacerbated by a hard line from Beijing. Hong Kong’s leader, CY Leung, remained adamant that dropping the classes was not an option. However, he left room for manoeuvre, saying: “Between withdrawing and not withdrawing the subject, the room for negotiations is very big”.
Posted by: Pappy