Voluntary military service should be introduced for young people in Hong Kong to nurture a greater sense of patriotism, a law professor in Beijing has proposed.
Professor Chen Duanhong of Peking University’s Law School made the suggestion at a forum in Beijing on developments in Hong Kong and Macau, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday.
He said he completely disagreed with the actions of some young people during the Occupy movement in Hong Kong.
Chen said their actions were simply a refusal to accept that Hong Kong has now returned to the mainland and its political framework.
He also suggested that young people be appointed as civil servants, so as to increase their sense of belonging.
Chen also called for more educational opportunities for Hong Kong students in the mainland.
Education Bureau figures show HK$45 million was spent to subsidize exchange activities in the mainland during the 2013/14 year, benefiting more than 44,000 students from Hong Kong.
That subsidy was a big increase from the HK$32 million in 2012/13 for activities in which 20,000 Hong Kong students took part.
The budget has been increased to HK$66 million for this year, and 57,000 students are expected to be involved.
Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers chairman Wong Wai-shing said most of the exchange activities are too short in duration and have fallen short of nurturing a consciousness of citizenship among the students.
Such education should be infused in everyday learning, Wong said.
Lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said some of these exchange tours have backfired. For example, web-savvy Hong Kong students instantly experienced the suppression of their freedom to use the internet when they could not access Facebook in the mainland.
Ho Hon-kuen, vice-chairman of Education Convergence, said the Education Bureau is to blame for the lack of self-identification of Hong Kong youth as Chinese.
He said one of the best ways to help students reflect whether they are Chinese is for them to learn Chinese history. However, the Education Bureau allows schools not to teach Chinese history as an independent subject.
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