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Hong Kong education plan draws protests - SFGate -
Stephen Mack #TeamMomo
3 other people
"Tens of thousands of protesters paraded through Hong Kong on Sunday, waving placards denouncing "brainwashing" by China's ruling Communist Party and calling for the scrapping of plans for "national education" courses in local schools. The protest, organized by teachers, parents and students as well as political organizations hostile to Beijing's one-party system, demonstrated deep opposition to the introduction of classes designed to boost knowledge of and attachment to China in this freewheeling former British colony of 7.2 million. China recovered sovereignty over Hong Kong 15 years ago in a blaze of fireworks and patriotic fervor. It granted the metropolis a high degree of autonomy as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, but has grown frustrated that many in Hong Kong, though ethnically Chinese, don't identify much with the rest of the country, under communist rule since 1949. Though increasingly dependent economically on mainland China, Hong Kong, according to a recent opinion poll by Hong Kong University, now has less trust in the central government in Beijing than at any time since the 1997 handover. Separate polls show that bonds of shared identity with the rest of China have grown weaker, not stronger. In an effort to narrow the gap, which has led to ugly outbursts of insulting rhetoric and occasional clashes, the Hong Kong government wants students to learn more about their mainland Chinese brethren. It has proposed courses to instruct pupils about China's political system, geography and history, and the correct etiquette for raising the national flag. Sunday's protesters decried this as brainwashing. Protest placards borrowed lyrics from "Another Brick in the Wall," a song by the British rock group Pink Floyd: "We don't need no thought control. Leave them kids alone."" -
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