The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s top political advisory body, has told its members from Hong Kong to promote national education in local schools, a move aimed at eliminating the idea of Hong Kong independence on campus, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
In his work report on March 3, when the fifth session of the 12th National Committee of the CPPCC began, chairman Yu Zhengsheng said Beijing will unwaveringly implement the “one country, two systems” principle and abide by the guideline of “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy”.
But on Monday, the last day of the session, the committee decided to add to the work report, including a statement resolutely objecting Hong Kong independence and calling on Hong Kong deputies to help in promoting national education in schools.
The CPPCC’s move came after Premier Li keqiang said at the opening of the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) on March 5 that there is absolutely no hope for Hong Kong independence.
Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, has also mentioned in his work report that Beijing is totally against the ideology.
Huang Liuquan, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, said “it’s very necessary” for CPPCC members to be involved in national education in schools in order to help in the better understanding of the Basic Law and the ‘one country, two systems”.
Asked about the CPPCC’s decision, Education Secretary Eddie Ng Hak-kim said the government has adopted a clear stance of rejecting Hong Kong independence and does not want any activities related to the concept to take place on campus.
Individuals and groups supporting the Basic Law are welcome to assist the school management in helping students learn about the law, Ng said, adding that there is no reason for some people to worry about students’ being brainwashed.
Tam Yiu-chung, a CPPCC member and former chairman of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said he himself had visited a school to introduce the Basic Law to students, calling it a good way to help in eliminating misconceptions among young people.
However, lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen, who represents the education functional constituency, called the CPPCC’s new initiative “uncommon”, describing its members’ involvement in education as nothing but a political mission that is not proper as far as education is concerned.
He is worried that national education might become an individual course as a result, and this would spur public concern just like what happened in 2012 when tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against it.
Political commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu said CPPCC members will not be able to crack down on the independence ideology on campus if Beijing does not change its ways of seeking to control Hong Kong.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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