It’s been 14 years since Hong Kong was relinquished from British rule and handed back to China. In that interim, flag raising and singing the national anthem have become part of the daily routine at many schools and so have classes in Chinese history, geography and culture–all fine and dandy by any means. But that’s not enough, the central government says now.
Learning about the motherland is just about to take a more sinister turn. According to new reports, Hong Kong primary and secondary schools will have to incorporate compulsory patriotism classes into their schooling. An article from the Asia Times: “[N]o doubt on orders from their political masters in Beijing, Hong Kong’s leaders have announced plans to boost the population’s love of country by making “national education” (read: “political indoctrination”) a compulsory subject in primary and secondary schools as early as next year.”
The patriotism classes will have no exams. A pupil’s performance will be assessed by teachers, parents, and classmates on the criteria of whether the kids “feel happy to be Chinese” or “consider the needs of the country when planning their future.”
That’s just about the dumbest thing we ever heard. And did you get a creepy vibe from that? So did we! Your spidey senses are spot on.
Regarding the changes, Hao Tiechuan, the director of the Publicity, Culture and Sports Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government blogged, “Regarding the moral and national education in Hong Kong primary and secondary schools, some people say it amounts to ‘brainwashing’. But if we look at such systems in Western countries like the United States and France, we will find this kind of ‘necessary brainwashing’ is an international convention.”
He further crams his foot down his mouth by adding, “Some people say there is a need to help primary and secondary school pupils develop critical thinking. However, the usual practice in the international community is to nurture critical thinking in universities, not in primary and secondary schools. Some people say moral and national education should not follow the central government’s line. But would that still be called national education?”
Let me get this straight. Mr. Hao Tiechuan thinks that students should 1) Not learn to develop critical thinking 2) necessarily become brainwashed by the government. Oh okay, well then obviously the future of Hong Kong is in good hands.