Last week we posted an article on our blog about the mass protests in Hong Kong against Chinese patriotism Lessons. It seems now, however, the government have had a change of heart and backed down over the plans to make schoolchildren take the mandatory Chinese patriotism classes, the goal of which was said to foster a sense of national belonging and identity.
Thousands of people had taken to the streets of Hong Kong to protest against what many believed to be an attempt by the authorities to ‘brainwash‘ students. Many of the protestors actually camped out around Hong Kong’s government headquarters and some even went on hunger strike.
On Saturday, however, according to the BBC news website, Hong Kong’s chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, said the classes would now be optional for schools. He said,
The schools are given the authority to decide when and how they would like to introduce the moral and national education.”
The government’s surprise announcement led some to speculate that the U-turn was a move directly timed to influence Sunday’s election, when voters were due to go to the polls to elect just over half the members of a legislative assembly. The protests had given a boost to pro-democracy legislators who were hoping to win a landmark election.
Video – Hong Kong Protests Plans For New Education Classes
VOA Learning English Video – Chinese Patriotism Classes Fuel Protest in Hong Kong
You can read more about the latest news on this subject by clicking the links below:
- Hong Kong backs down over Chinese patriotism classes
- Polls close in Hong Kong’s key vote amid anti-China feeling
News Update – Monday September 10, 2012
Whilst the pro-democratic parties retained enough of a majority to veto any proposed changes to Hong Kong’s constitution, the election results, released on Monday, leaned in favour of the pro-China faction in Hong Kong’s legislature, where power is split between those aligned with Beijing and those who favour further democratic reforms. Read more here>>