08/31/2012, 00.00
HONG KONG - CHINA
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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.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The Territory's civil society continues its staunch opposition to the introduction of "national education" classes imposed by the communist government on local schools. Ahead of the next big protest on September 2, organized by teachers' unions and representatives of parents, a large scale survey shows that 75% of students and their families are against the introduction of these new courses.

It all stems from educational reform desired by the Chinese central government in 2002 and launched in 2004. It provides every school - from elementary school onwards - be prepared for non-defined "classes of National Education", a topic that should be treated as a separate subject. From what has so far been said, the subject's aim is to enhance China's great economic scientific and popular achievements, but silence, for example, discusses the Tiananmen massacre.

The first to oppose this reform were Catholics, led by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, who has repeatedly denounced this move as an attempt to "brainwash" young people orchestrated by Beijing. Now, the general public is mobilising behind the Church:  According to a survey carried out by an Association of men's and women's clubs, 74% of the students and 77% of parents surveyed want the government to withdraw the subject from schools and resume consultations with all parties involved before resubmitting it.

According to the survey, the majority of students would ask the government (if they were able to) to introduce the Tiananmen massacre among the topics covered in these classes. Lam Wai-man, a member of the parents association, said: " I worry whether it's because the government has policies it wants to launch, but it wants to educate us first." The subject will become mandatory, according to the time limits imposed by the central government in 2015.

Meanwhile, a hunger strike by 80 high school students continues. The young people are camped out in the government district of Admiralty. They greeted the visit by the head of the Executive Leung Chun-ying with scepticism and irony, as "a stunt" and stressed that the government "respects neither the parents nor the students and not even teachers. "

 

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