HONG KONG: Tens of thousands of parents, students and social activists marched through Hong Kong to oppose plans for national education lessons that detractors say will stifle independent thinking.
With many clad in black and white to symbolize the contrast between right and wrong and carrying placards stating “We don’t need no thought control,” demonstrators protested government plans to introduce the subject in state-run primary schools from September.
The authorities will extend the classes, which aim to foster Chinese identity, to secondary school pupils from 2013 and phase in the lessons over three years.
The rally took place less than a month after pro-Beijing candidate Leung Chun-ying was inaugurated as the city’s chief executive. Government talks with opponents to delay the new curriculum collapsed over the weekend, the South China Morning Post reported in its Sunday edition.
Textbooks will give a pro- Communist Party account of China’s history and political system, according to Willy Wo-Lap Lam, an adjunct professor of history at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
“This is really very crude patriotic, nationalistic propaganda,” Lam said by phone before the rally. “This popular movement against patriotic education reflects distrust of the C.Y. Leung administration.
Leung is seen as just a puppet installed by Beijing who will execute orders, in this particular instance to generate patriotic sentiments among the younger generation.” (Bloomberg/tw)