Hong Kong youth’s protest over patriotic education causes a stir among netizens
July 17, 2012Jing Gao9 CommentsApple Daily, brainwash, Communist Party, Deng Xiaoping, Education, Hong Kong, Hong Konger, Nationalism, one country two systems, patriotic education, Patriotism, Propaganda
A compilation of pictures showing Hong Kong students’ growing discontent with being brainwashed with Pro-Communist rhetoric resonates deeply with Chinese netizens. It was shared by over 2,600 Weibo users and received hundreds of user comments.
The pictures are screenshots of a television report uploaded by Apple Daily, a Hong Kong-based media group, onto YouTube. The Sina Weibo user @假装在纽约 who posted the compilation on the microblogging service, did not state the background of the video.
(Student surnamed Yuen): I feel that the society (is) full of injustice.
(Student surnamed Yuen) If we don’t fight back, there may be more in the future.
(Student surnamed Chan) They run the national anthem from 6 o’clock.
(Student surnamed Chan) Even back in the days of the British rule, there was no daily brainwash.
(Student surnamed Chan) And now they force us to take the national education.
(Student surnamed Chan)Sometimes they force us to sing red songs.
(Student surnamed Chan) This is not really normal.
What Hong Kong students complain about red songs and injustice have struck the chords of Chinese netizens. User “@三月菇”wrote, “Doing such staff even puts off people in the mainland, much less people in Hong Kong.”
Another one “@13码的猜想” commented, “I suddenly begin to sympathize with Hong Kong people. First they were ruled by Britain. Then they were ruled by the mainland. Now they are even being brainwashed by our Party with red songs. This huge difference is worse than a dog’s life. I really feel they are miserable~”
One user “@波点奶茶”, however, feels less sorry, “You guys are actually pretty comfortable! In the mainland, even if people have the nerve to say it, no television station will have the nerve to air it.”
The post has also antagonized some other Chinese netizens into patriotic rants against the students. “Keep fighting! A bunch of slaves of Britain! They only deserve to be dogs of Brits.”
Another user @柯叽玛 raved, “Before the handover, these students weren’t even born. So parents in Hong Kong just teach their kids like this? So they were snatched away to be raised by others, but they have no resentment against being parted from their biological mother, and instead they hate her for bringing them home and raising them again? Then giving birth to a piece of pork is better than giving birth to you! Every country teaches its subjects to sing the national anthem. This is called national education!!! You are not Brits, so no wonder they didn’t ask you to sing, because you weren’t even entitled to be a second-class citizen!!”
Beijing is propagating patriotic education in Hong Kong at a time when local residents’ distrust for the Mainland hits an all-time high in an effort to indoctrinate its youth with the Communist values and cement its rule in the former British colony that has always embraced democracy and freedom. According to a Wall Street Journal story, “The China Model,” a 34-page color booklet sent to all Hong Kong-government schools, sings praises of the authoritarian regime and says multiparty systems, such as those in the U.S., set up a “malignant party struggle.”
For example, China’s government is led by a “progressive, selfless, and united ruling group,” Wall Street Journal cites.
The move has renewed fear that the original idea of “One Country, Two Systems” promoted by Deng Xiaoping, then Communist Party patriarch, is just an empty promise, and that the heavy hand from Beijing will be detrimental to the region’s self-rule.
The following photos were picked from Caixin.
Primary school students attend a lesson on raising a Chinese national flag during their visit to a national education center in Hong Kong June 27, 2012. (Bobby Yip/Reuters)
Primary school students study materials during their visit to a national education center in Hong Kong June 27, 2012. (Bobby Yip/Reuters)
Primary school students hold a Chinese national flag during a lesson at a national education center in Hong Kong June 27, 2012.(Bobby Yip/Reuters)
A student yawns while listening to the instruction at a national education center in Hong Kong June 27, 2012. (Bobby Yip/Reuters)
Primary school students learn marching in front of an iconic photograph on the July 1, 1997 Hong Kong handover ceremony, during their visit to a national education center in Hong Kong June 27, 2012. (Bobby Yip/Reuters)