Hong Kong resist Chicom brainwashing in schools
Tens of thousands of protesters paraded through Hong Kong on Sunday, waving placards denouncing “brainwashing” by China’s Communist Party and calling for the scrapping of plans for “national education” courses in local schools.
The protest, organized by teachers, parents and student groups as well as local political organizations hostile to Beijing’s one-party system, demonstrated deep opposition to the introduction of classes that aim to boost knowledge of and attachment to China in this freewheeling former British colony of 7.2 million.
China recovered sovereignty over Hong Kong 15 years ago in a blaze of fireworks and patriotic fervor. It granted the metropolis a high degree of autonomy as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. But Beijing has grown frustrated that many in Hong Kong, though ethnically Chinese, do not identify much with the rest of the country, under Communist rule since 1949.
Although increasingly dependent economically on mainland China, Hong Kong, according to a recent opinion poll by Hong Kong University, now has less trust in the central government in Beijing than at any time since the 1997 handover. Separate polls show that bonds of shared identity with the rest of China have grown weaker, not stronger.
In an effort to narrow the gap, which has led to ugly outbursts of insulting rhetoric and occasional clashes, the Hong Kong government wants students to learn more about their mainland brethren. It has proposed courses to instruct pupils about China’s political system, geography and history, along with the correct etiquette for raising the national flag.
Protesters on Sunday decried this as brainwashing. Placards borrowed lyrics from “Another Brick in the Wall,” a song by the British rock group Pink Floyd: “We don’t need no thought control. Leave them kids alone.” A group of parents and their children waved a poster reading: “Our previous generations came here to escape the Communist Party, don’t let the next generation return to the grip of the demon.”
...China needs to try another approach--the truth. The people of Hong Kong are too intelligent to fall for the crude attempts to teach them something they know not to be true.