90,000 Hong Kongers say no to the imposition of Chinese ‘thought control’ on young ones starting from six years old. Anticipating a few steps ahead of the fifty years no change promise by the mainland?
For more check out
Thousands Protest China’s Plans for Hong Kong Schools (New York Times July 29, 2012)
From AFP TV,
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Chinese ’Nationalistic’ Education Draws Protesters In Hong Kong
By Rachel Evans
Source – Bloomberg, published July 30, 2012
Tens of thousands of parents, students and social activists marched through Hong Kong yesterday 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 yesterday 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.”
More than 90,000 people attended the protests, according to Andrew Shum of the Hong Kong Christian Institute who helped arrange the demonstrations. Two calls and an e-mail to the Police Public Relations Branch were not immediately answered or returned outside of office hours yesterday. Police said organizers estimated about 10,000 people would attend the march, according to a statement on the government’s website on July 27.
Mothers with strollers and fathers clutching toddlers’ hands gathered in temperatures that rose as high as 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 degrees Fahrenheit) before marching to the government’s offices with banners exhorting “Communist China, leave them kids alone” and “Stop brainwashing us!”
“We are contesting a syllabus that just shows the positive side of the People’s Republic of China,” said Yip Po Lam, an organizer of the Justice & Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, which also helped organize the demonstration. “It does not facilitate independent thinking by students.”
Voters head to the polls on Sept. 9 to elect members of the city’s Legislative Council. Hong Kong’s League of Social Democrats and Civic Party both ran stalls near the starting point of yesterday’s rally.
Lawmakers have challenged Leung’s credibility as the financial center’s leader after his home was found to have illegal building structures and his development secretary stepped down to address corruption allegations.
An alliance of activists including the National Education Parents’ Concern Group andScholarism, a student body, convened the latest protest.
“The anger is not just from parents but from people from all walks of life,” said Eva Chan, convener of the National Education Parents’ Concern Group. The curriculum would cause “brainwashing of young people,” she said by phone before the demonstration.
One textbook explains how the Communist Party is a progressive, united and effective ruler, comparing it with the U.S. where a two-party system leads to eternal debates and gridlock, said Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. There is no mention of the Cultural Revolution or the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square, according to Lam. “The level of crudity is even worse than that of the textbooks you find in China,” he said.