Authorities in Hong Kong are launching a campaign to “educate” high school students about harsh national security laws that have left most of the city’s political opponents behind bars and criminalization. public criticism of the government.
Students return to the class above Monday when the coronavirus restrictions were eased were greeted with gifts of paper bookmarks with the slogans “Maintain national security” and “Protect our homes”, when the government launched a set of The newly revised teaching material claims that the city’s seven million residents “still enjoy freedom.”
A circular letter to schools, a copy of which has been sent to RFA, stating that schools have a responsibility to ensure that their students are “educated” on the new law issued by the Communist Party. Chinese rulership (CCP) imposed on Hong Kong from July 1, Year 2020.
Morning meetings and class registration sessions should include a reference to the phrase “maintaining national security is the constitutional responsibility of the Hong Kong SAR,” it said.
The teaching materials now include a caricature summarizing the law, which states that there is no change to “various rights and freedoms”, including freedom of press and association. , in Hong Kong since the law took effect.
However, it does not refer to the arrest and accusation of 47 members of the opposition supporting democracy for participating in a democratic primary election, as well as the arrest of radio host Giggs for ” incite hatred or contempt for the government of the People’s Republic of China and HKSAR, “under national security law.
A citywide crackdown of anyone involved in the 2019 protest movement increased when the law went into effect and included cases brought under colonial settlement law as well as ” illegal gathering “.
Almost all of the city’s prominent pro-democracy figures, opposition lawmakers and activists are currently behind bars or in exile.
Accusing 47 democracy activists and opposition politicians on charges of “subversion” sparked international outcry and calls for their immediate release, with the UK claiming the law was acceptable. used to “eliminate dissent” and the US said it was criminalized normally. participate in politics.
Propaganda team in schools
Meanwhile, students are being encouraged to participate in a poster design competition that introduces the impact of national security law on everyday life in Hong Kong, according to the circular, while calling on schools. make sure students receive promotional materials such as bookmarks and stickers, and participate in an online law quiz.
A high school teacher told RFA that their school has set up a special team to handle legal propaganda activities and activities.
“Security and defense education in schools has been known for a long time,” this teacher said.
An elementary school teacher only pseudonym Lee said his school has also set up a working group to fulfill the requirements of the education department’s circular.
He said there has been a wave of direction recently from the government, seeming to “force schools and teachers to adhere to comprehensive measures.”
“So now we have the methods of totalitarian governance brought in under a totalitarian regime,” Lee said.
Festival of education on national defense security
He said the schools are expected to celebrate National Security Law Education Day celebration on entry Thursday.
“It’s basically an event, a show you have to be on,” Lee said. “We’ll raise the flag, sing the national anthem and say a few words.”
“In fact, the CCP affiliated schools have already started using this language … my granddaughter learned one of them,” he said. “She told me they fell asleep while the principal was talking, so I don’t think they’ll be receptive.”
A middle school teacher pseudonym Chan said “national security teams” are now the norm in Hong Kong schools.
“So national security teams have to be established, and schools have to submit reports,” Chan said. “If there are no events held for that day, it will have to explain.”
“So we’ll have to do something so we have something to put in the report,” he said. “Maybe we’ll just put the information on the bulletin board and let the students read it when they want.”
Reported by Man Hoi Yan for RFA Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.