Dismayed residents are against “patriotic education” program and booklet

On July 29, dismayed parents and students in Hong Kong’s public schools intend to march on the city’s government offices to protest a plan quietly hatched by the administration of former Hong Kong Chief executive Donald Tsang to launch a controversial “patriotic education” program for schools extolling the virtues of the mainland.

Hong Kong schoolchildren

Hong Kong schoolchildren may be subjected to mainland propaganda, though backlash may keep the new curriculum at bay. Pic: AP

The government has quietly provided HK$13 million taxpayer dollars to the Hong Kong Patriotic Education Services Centre to produce a 34-page booklet titled ‘Chinese Model National Conditions Teaching Manual’ for Hong Kong schools. How this came to be without proper public consultation, professional vetting or Legislative Council debate, remains yet another mystery in misgovernance.

The Tsang administration allocated this annual fund to a hitherto unknown ‘patriotic education’ outfit created by the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, which represents 26,000 comrade teachers and is an integral part of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the political party with the closest ties to the mainland’s communist government.

These and many other bodies are hydra-headed expressions of ‘united front’ work coordinated and fuelled by the China Liaison Office. While exerting a coercive influence on the Hong Kong government, the Communist Party remains largely invisible in the territory, working through ‘united front’ activity in schools, unions and Taoist religious organizations.

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