The Education Bureau (EDB) said the anti-British leftist riots in Hong Kong in 1967 will not be put into the new Chinese history curriculum for junior secondary schools, saying teaching it will be at the discretion of teachers, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
EDB made the remarks as it launched the second-phase consultations on revision of the Chinese history curriculum for junior secondary schools on Monday.
Education groups are concerned whether major incidents in modern China, including the Leftist Riots of 1967, the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and the Cultural Revolution, will be added in the syllabuses of the consultation draft.
According to the bureau, the 1967 riots will be neither part nor an extension of the official Chinese history curriculum.
Teachers can decide on their own whether to teach that part of history, the bureau said.
As for the Tiananmen Square incident, like the existing curriculum, the bureau said it will be included in the part of Chinese history curriculum about Chinese internal affairs and diplomacy.
Hong Chan Tsui-wah, deputy secretary for education, said syllabuses only provide a framework and therefore they are unlikely to cover in detail China’s long history of 2,000 years.
Hong also said it is “unfair” to say that learning history is brainwashing. She urged people not to look at the curriculum from a political angle.
Leung Yuen-sang, professor of history and dean of arts at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who chairs the Ad Hoc Committee for Revising Junior Chinese History and History Curricula, acknowledged the importance of the 1967 riots in Hong Kong history but said it is not that important when it comes to Chinese history as a whole.
Leung said one of the goals of the history curriculum is to cultivate students’ sentiment toward the country. However, schools will avoid propagandizing racial greatness and sense of the party-state system.
Meanwhile, Chinese history teacher Chen Yan-kai, who is also a deputy director of the Education Research Department of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, said he would not be surprised if textbook publishers conduct self-censorship and leave out the part of history regarding the 1967 riots and the Tiananmen Square crackdown in order to gain the bureau’s approval.
The second-phase consultations are scheduled to end at the end of November, with the revised history curriculum expected to take effect in September 2020.
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