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Beijing to drill Hong Kong schoolchildren with national security education

Screen capture from video by Hong Kong's Education Bureau.

Children as young as 6 years old will receive education on national security legislation in Hong Kong, according to guidelines circulated by the city's Education Bureau in local schools on February 5.

The guidelines, which instructs administrators and lecturers on the implementation of national security education, require teachers of all levels to teach the criminal offences outlined in Hong Kong's national security law — namely, secession, subversion, terrorist acts, and collusion with foreign forces.

Article 10 of the national security law, enacted in July 2020 in response to the year-long anti-extradition protests, binds the Hong Kong government to promote national security education in schools, universities, and via civic groups and media outlets.

The guidelines circulated on February 5 also list topics teachers must include in the school curriculum. For example, the nine-dash line will be taught in geography, China's policies in preventing infectious diseases in biology, and the correct manner of singing the Chinese national anthem in music classes. The instructions also prohibit teachers from taking an argumentative approach when lecturing on topics related to national security.

Administrators have also been instructed to ban books, reading materials, and political displays that constitute an endangerment to national security from circulating on the school's premises. They have also been told to report to the police if they suspect members of staff or students violated the national security law. As examples of unlawful acts, the guidelines cite “forming human chains” and “chanting of slogans” such as “Revolution of our times.”

The rules apply to Hong Kong's private and international schools as well, although those won't have to hand in regular progress reports to the Education Bureau like the public schools.

The Education Bureau also released a video tailor-made for primary school kids about the new guidelines:

Many netizens labelled the new curriculum “brainwashing” on social media:

On Facebook, netizens mocked the ban of political messages. Some of the comments on a post by The Stand News’ Facebook page said:

舉起張白紙都係顛覆國家語句

Now holding a blank piece of paper can be interpreted as subversion

咁多野唔講得,你不如出返本禁語字典

Why don’t you publish a dictionary on censored words?

以後落雨返學,學生著黄色雨靴擔把黃色雨傘或黃雨衣都可以係罪?可以記過或踢出校?

In the future, if students wear yellow raincoats or umbrellas to school, can they be penalized? Or kicked out of school?

Last year, the Education Bureau removed liberal studies from university entrance exams and censored topics such as “separation of powers” on textbooks. Many teachers argued at that time that liberal studies encouraged students to develop critical thinking.

Twitter user Tin Fong Chak comments on the trend:

And user @dc4_hk fears independent thinking will be repressed:

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