Hong Kong is marking its first “National Security Education Day” to promote a sweeping law Beijing imposed on semi-autonomous territory last year.
The South China Morning Post reported on Thursday that children under three were among those learning about national security law, while authorities invited residents across the city to create “mosaic walls” with a message of support. households or their own smiling pictures at home culture centers and schools.
The police and other security forces are scheduled to hold a demonstration parade of the Chinese army’s “sassy walk” at the end of the day.
The Hong Kong government said Thursday’s events aimed to create a “positive atmosphere of national security” and enhance city residents’ understanding of China’s national security law and constitution. and the small constitution of the city.
The widely criticized security law, enacted last June, punishes anything Beijing deems subversion, separatism, “terrorism” or collusion with foreign forces. life sentence.
Since the law was in place, more than 100 people have been arrested on charges of undermining national security.
During the celebrations, stickers and bookmarks that read “Maintain national security, protect our home” were delivered to schools and kindergartens, according to reports. media.
“We hope to teach kindergarteners to properly understand National Security Education Day, such as national identity, we are Chinese people living in Hong Kong,” said the head of one kindergarten, Nancy Lam Chui-ling, told the South China Morning Post.
“Concepts of the national security law are really hard to teach preschool children. That’s why we hope to nurture them as children of positive values, so that they can distinguish between black and white as they grow up, ”she said.
‘Donate! Donate! Donate!’
At Wong Cho Bau Secondary School, City, students gather to celebrate the flag-raising ceremony.
“As a Chinese, as a Hong Konger, all we need to do is prepare and do our best for the country,” homeroom teacher Hui Chun Lung told students.
Hui emphasized the “stability” security law brings to the city, before a two-minute video showing different students expressing support for the law was played.
Students then line up to stick “wish cards” onto a mosaic wall.
“Supporting national security law is not an issue. Donate! Donate! Donate! I hope we can be one with the mainland, ”wrote one student.
Some schools also hold quizzes and exhibitions on the importance of national security, according to local media.
There are also objections.
RTHK television said four pro-democracy activists held a march through a central district of the city, demanding universal suffrage and freedom of speech and association.
Protesters Chow Hang-tung told reporters: “We cannot let the government dominate what means national security. “A nation exists for its people – that country does not exist to suppress its people and take away their rights.”
She said Beijing’s persecution undermined academic and press freedom and forced many Hong Kongers to emigrate or exile.
“Things are falling apart,” she said, describing the law as a “weapon of mass destruction” for Hong Kong.
Beijing imposed new laws on Hong Kong after anti-government and anti-China protests raged in the territory, with some of the most violent clashes breaking out on university campuses. . Critics say the act restricts rights and freedoms in the former British colony, which was promised a high degree of autonomy when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Its supporters in China and Hong Kong say the law restored “order” in the city.
The United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials on the law, as well as measures taken to reduce democratic representation in city agency.
China retaliated with its own sanctions, while Luo Huining, Beijing’s top representative in Hong Kong on Thursday said that any foreign power tries to use the city. Such a pawn will face the next countermeasure.
“We will give a lesson to all foreign powers that intend to use Hong Kong as a pawn,” Luo said at the National Security Education Day celebration.