06/14/2011, 00.00
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Beijing wants socialist patriotism taught to Hong Kong students

Wang Guangya wants students to foster understanding of Chinese history, especially from Mao until today. The Office for public education makes a "popular" request to dedicate up to 50 hours of national education per year to issues. Many fear a form of "brainwashing".

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The national education must help students understand why China became socialist and how the Communist Party came to government, this is the suggestion of Wang Guangya, Director of the Beijing office for relations with Hong Kong and Macao.

In a meeting with young local students, he stressed that although Hong Kong has its own curriculum for "national education", it should learn something from education in China. The "basic elements" applicable to Hong Kong are: "First, the history of China .. What was the experience of the Chinese people over the past 5 thousand years? Second, fostering an under standing of contemporary Chinese history, especially what happened in the last 150-200 years. If you don't have such knowledge, you will find it difficult to understand why China chose to follow the way of socialism since 1949... Don't take it negatively when you hear the phrase national education".

There has been a lot of debate in Hong Kong on the issue of "national education". Last month the Office of Education released a document that seems to be a popular demand to make up to 50 hours of national education compulsory in schools.

The democratic movement has expressed the fear that such an education is likely to be a form of "brainwashing".

Much of the population of Hong Kong is made up of people who fled from China because of the repression of communism and the arrival of Mao. The city was also at the forefront in defending dissidents during the Tiananmen Square riots in 1989.

Aware of the criticism in this regard, Wang explained, “ The better the work done on national education, the better the Hong Kong-mainland relationship will be."

Democrat member of parliament, Cheung Man-kwong, who works in schools, said Wang’s statements prove he has a hidden agenda on education in Hong Kong. " He has presumed socialism is superior. This may not be the conclusion drawn by Hongkongers ".
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