In his remarks, Xi stressed that Hong Kong was entering a “crucial period” of challenges and opportunities, and that its stability and future development would depend on being ruled by “patriots” and maintaining “one country, two systems” – the principle that Beijing promised would give the city a high degree of autonomy for 50 years after the handover.
In the circular to schools, the education department said learning the speech would help “deepen local teachers’ understanding of the development of the nation and the world, and help them understand the importance of integration of Hong Kong in overall national development”.
“The speech fully expresses President Xi’s love and care for young people in Hong Kong, and his sincere hope to provide better education for children,” he added. he added.
Since Hong Kong was rocked by pro-democracy protests in 2019, Beijing has blamed the city’s education system for radicalizing its students, singling out liberal studies – a subject that encourages critical thinking – for boosting anti sentiment. -Beijing among young people.
Amid a crackdown by authorities on the city’s opposition movement, Hong Kong last year replaced liberal studies with a new subject for high school students – citizenship and social development.
Wong Kam-leung, chairman of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Education Workers Federation, denied that the decision to distribute copies of Xi’s speech for teachers to study was tantamount to indoctrinating schools with the ideology of the Communist Party in power.
“As educators, it’s our duty to understand Xi’s discourse and think about how we can help improve the country,” Wong told CNN.
Wong said he was aware that some students might have questions about previous pro-democracy protests or political developments in Hong Kong, to which he said students were “welcome to ask questions. “.
“Schools as a learning space have a responsibility to correct those who have been misled, so teachers should be equipped with information from Xi’s speech,” Wong said.
Two years later, there are no opposition MPs left in Hong Kong’s legislature, while nearly all of its key pro-democracy figures, including activists and politicians, have been forced into exile or imprisoned. . Pro-democracy civil society organizations, which lobbied for workers’ rights, also disbanded.
Meanwhile, regular national flag-raising ceremonies have been made mandatory under renewed requirements from school authorities.
In accordance with guidelines issued last year, all Hong Kong students from the age of 6 will receive lessons aimed at helping them “understand the country’s history and development, the importance of national security, the national flag , the national emblem and the national anthem”.
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