National Education Rears Its Head Again In Hong Kong, But In Subtle Ways

The idea of “national education” as school curriculum was nixed after widespread protests last year, but the National Education Parents’ Concern Group recently discovered that some commonly used primary school textbooks are very biased and use overly affective expressions to teach students “how to build a better sense of belonging to the motherland.”

One Chinese language textbook requires students to be emotional when reading a patriotic poem — for example, by using high pitched tone and reading very slowly. Another English textbook posits that many children call themselves “HK people,” but that this concept is not technically ideal — instead, one should say, “I am a Chinese citizen living in Hong Kong.”

In addition, a fifth-grade general studies textbook, when describing the foundation of New China, only talks about how Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China and how the party led the whole country toward prosperity. Dark histories such as the Great Famine, Cultural Revolution and June Fourth Incident are omitted.

Some textbooks teach students to feel proud to be Chinese. But why? Alas, a government can’t brainwash the children to be patriotic, as propaganda can’t last forever. Our advice: do something ethical, treat your people well and bear your international responsibilities – that, better than anything, would make your people proud.

Mandarin with feeling:

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