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    » 09/08/2012, 00.00

    HONG KONG - CHINA

    Card. Zen and Jimmy Lai at demonstration against Beijing’s "patriotic" education for Hong Kong

    Paul Hong

    About 120 thousand people have gathered around the young people who are carrying out a hunger strike against "brainwashing" imposed by Beijing on schools. Also, the great democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming. Protests held abroad.

    Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Cardinal Joseph Zen and the entrepreneur Jimmy Lai were among the most prominent figures to have participated in huge demonstration yesterday evening calling for the cancellation of a program for "national education" (or "patriotic") in Hong Kong's schools.

    An avalanche of protesters poured into the area of ​​Admiralty (see photo), near the seat of government and Tamar barracks occupied by the garrison of soldiers of the liberation army from mainland China. According to the organizers, there were at least 120 thousand people, police say at 21.30 (local time), there were about 36 thousand demonstrators. But the flow of people was such that it invaded other neighborhoods close to Admiralty. Participants wore black T-shirts or black armbands, a sign of mourning for the freedom of education.

    The "national education" project consists of a number of hours that every class must dedicate to lessons in the history of China's great achievements, all thanks to the Communist Party in Beijing. Ample space must be given to the economic development of the motherland, but these lessons will not touch on topics such as human rights, the Tiananmen massacre, religious freedom or the controversial and violent history of the Chinese Communist Party.

    Card. Zen has always been an opponent to this "education", describing it as a form of "brainwashing." In addition to the Cardinal and Jimmy Lai, one of Hong Kong's leading figures in the democratic movement Martin Lee Chu-ming, was also present.

    Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered around the 12 young students on a one day hunger strike in front of the seat of government. Students, parents, teachers, trade unionists, politicians and even business owners are opposed to the inclusion of these hours of false "patriotism."

    The government does not seem to want to back down from its decision, but has invited a delegation of students and parents to participate in discussions with officials on the implementation of the program. However students and teachers are willing to boycott these lessons in forced "patriotism". One school in Sha Tin, that had decided to start the courses of "national education" after last night's event, decided to cancel them.

    The campaign is also growing in other parts of the world, thanks to immigrants from Hong Kong. A group in London has decided to a rally today outside the Territory's representative offices in the British capital.

    Previously, Card. Zen had told AsiaNews that Beijing fears the free education that is widespread in Hong Kong and has made control over schools one of the priorities of its project for the former British colony. This project is also part of the launch of an organizing committee in every school, that will be controlled by the government and remove replace the educational institutions that manage the schools, including the Catholic Church.

     

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    See also

    29/08/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong teachers vow to fight against brainwashing imposed by Beijing
    The Territory is preparing for a new march against the school reform imposed by the communist government, which obliges classes of "national education". Civil society joins the battle first launched 10 years ago by the Catholic Church and say they are ready to resist this new abuse.

    04/09/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Protests and strike against the start of 'patriotic' education
    Yesterday, the six schools chosen to test the new course responded with a boycott. Catholic schools are leading the fight. The admiralty is still occupied by students. So long as the government does not listen, "We will sit out here and more should join us," they say.

    31/08/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong, parents and students do not want "national education"
    An independent survey reveals: 75% considered the new subject useless and damaging, defined by Cardinal Zen a "brainwashing" operated by the Communists against young people in the former colony. Hunger strike by protesters camped at the Admiralty continues, and students ask Beijing to include in Tiananmen massacre in their the study material.

    01/09/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong, students still on hunger strike against "national education"
    Protest growing: From 80 to 200 high school students. Massive demonstration of teachers 'unions and parents' representatives scheduled tomorrow. According to the reform, the so-called classes of "national education" will address the major scientific and economic achievements of mainland China.

    25/07/2012 HONG KONG - CHINA
    Hong Kong’s schools set against Beijing’s forced patriotic education
    After the diocese and democratic movements, liberals and even publishers balk at the introduction of the new subject imposed by Beijing, aimed at "brainwashing students." In all likelihood, its introduction postponed to next September.



    Editor's choices

    CHINA - VATICAN
    Vatican silence over Shanghai’s Mgr Ma Daqin causing confusion and controversy

    Bernardo Cervellera

    For some, Mgr Ma’s blog post praising the Patriotic Association and acknowledging his mistakes is nothing but “dirt”. For others, he chose humiliation for the “sake of his diocese”. Many wonder why the Holy See has remained silent about the article’s content and the bishop’s persecution. Some suspect the Vatican views the episode in positive terms. Yet, the Ma Daqin affair raises a major question. Has Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics (which describes the Patriotic Association as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine”) been abolished? If it has, who did it? A journey of compromises without truth is full of risks.


    CHINA – VATICAN
    Mgr Ma Daqin: the text of his “confession”

    Mons. Taddeo Ma Daqin

    Four years after quitting the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the bishop of Shanghai “admits” his faults on his blog, praising the organisation that controls the Church. We publish his article, almost in its entirety. Translation by AsiaNews.


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