After the anti-extradition movement in Hong Kong, Beijing is starting to re-engineer Hong Kong education.
According to Johns Hopkins University professor Ho-Fung Hung, China is turning a subject used to cultivate critical thinking into a mainland-style patriotic education by teaching the party line to children.
Shi Shan, a commentator, expressed that Beijing had investigated the Hong Kong anti-extradition movements in 2019 and found that there wasn’t enough patriotism in youth education but lots of Western freedom values.
As the Epoch Times media put it, to kill off the Hong Kong Liberal Studies, they reformed the entire subject to replace it with Citizenship and Social Development, which, in Beijing’s words, is “more patriotic.”
According to The Washington Post, Beijing is making new textbooks to align with the ruling party’s preferred narrative—to praise the Communist Party as benevolent people and Britain’s occupation of Hong Kong by force is bad. The Hong Kong Liberal Education Association and groups of teachers will be dissolved.
As early as 2014, textbooks were already downplaying the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, when Chinese soldiers killed thousands of students during the months-long pro-democracy rally in central Beijing.
They cut the whole incident to one page long with no casualties, replacing it with a single text line with no reference images or mentioning the yearly Hong Kong memorial for the victims.
A secondary school teacher, Lo Kit-ling, said that front-line teachers found the Beijing teaching instructions confusing, and there was a general sense of helplessness among their colleagues.
According to Lo, under Beijing’s push, “Hong Kong’s education system is a train that goes backward.”