08/22/2020, 13.01
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Hong Kong school textbooks tweaked to 'brainwash' students

Students and teachers accuse the authorities of tampering with textbooks to enforce the official party line, eliminating expressions like "separation of powers" and "civil disobedience". For activists, students should use old books. Education is becoming a battleground between the pro-democracy movement and pro-Beijing elites.


Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – An alliance of students and teachers yesterday said that school textbooks will be used to brainwash students.

For the Education Breakthrough and Progressive Teachers 'Alliance, Hong Kong’s Education Bureau is trying to tweak the information in liberal studies texts in order to uphold the official party line, limiting students' ability to think freely.

Activists note that some publishing houses, with the authorities’ agreement, have revised the textbooks, eliminating aspects deemed sensitive for pro-establishment groups and Beijing.

For example, censors removed terms such as "separation of powers" and "civil disobedience". In one volume, the issue of pollution in China was minimised; in another, editors changed information about the censorship of Western films in the mainland.

The Alliance launched a petition against school book censorship and manipulation, setting up a database for questionable changes. It also asked the Education Bureau to explain the criteria used for the changes and invited students to use the old books.

Education has become a battleground between the pro-democracy movement and the pro-Beijing elites. In July, Hong Kong authorities pulled some pro-democracy books from bookstores to check their compatibility with the new security law.

The legislation, which came into effect on 30 June, introduces the offences of separatism, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

Beijing imposed the law to stifle the pro-democracy movement, which had been demonstrating for full democracy in Hong Kong and the maintenance of its open political system.

For their part, Chinese and Hong Kong authorities have argued that the security law does not end the freedoms guaranteed by the Autonomous Region’s Basic Law. For pro-democracy groups, the censorship of “political” texts proves the opposite.

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