Date
23 November 2017
Schoolchildren watch a music video promoting love for the motherland. The song raised concerns among some parents who say their daughters now think China is their real mother as depicted in one cartoon (inset). Photos: Apple Daily, YouTube
Schoolchildren watch a music video promoting love for the motherland. The song raised concerns among some parents who say their daughters now think China is their real mother as depicted in one cartoon (inset). Photos: Apple Daily, YouTube

School accused of brainwashing kids: ‘Mommy, my mother is China’

Sacred Heart Canossian School, one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious primary schools, has been accused of brainwashing its students by promoting a mainland nursery song that instills love for the motherland.

Parents, who have come to learn that the song China is Home is being played repeatedly in classrooms of the Catholic girls’ school in Mid-Levels, said it was too early for the schoolchildren to be taught lessons about nationalism and politics, Apple Daily reported.

One parent said on her Facebook page that she’s worried because her daughter told her that China is her mother.

Other concerned parents said the school is apparently introducing national education by playing the nursery song for four consecutive weeks on the campus.

The nursery song, written by mainlander Peng Ye, is composed of four lines saying that China is home and China is mother.

The music video, made up of repeated scenes of the national flag being raised and Chinese landmarks, lasts about three minutes. In the song, the word “China” is repeated 130 times.

School principal Chow Chi-kin denied that students were required to sing along as the song was being played and said the song was chosen to match the week’s theme of “country”. 

Chow, who served as a member of a government panel for an electronic textbook development project, rejected allegations that playing the song on campus was an act of brainwashing.

He said the music video, which shows images of the Imperial Palace and the Temple of Heaven, is a good medium for students to learn Putonghua.

Oscar Lai, a spokesman for the pro-democracy student group Scholarism, said his group has received complaints from at least two parents who were concerned that the nursery song is instilling in the young minds of their daughters that China is their mother.

Scholarism plans to write to the school to express the parents’ concerns.

Eva Chan, convenor of the Parents Concern Group on National Education, said the nursery song with its repetitive lyrics and highly engaging melody works like hypnosis. She called on parents to write to the school administration if they find it unacceptable.

Former legislator Tanya Chan, an alumnus of the school, said during her time, there were no songs complimenting the British or Hong Kong government, so she found it unusual that the school would implement such a measure now without giving any explanation to students and parents.

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