Date
12 November 2019
What is preventing HK youth from embracing a sense of national identity isn’t a lack of understanding of what China has achieved, but rather, what the country has failed to achieve yet, says an observer. Photo: HKEJ
What is preventing HK youth from embracing a sense of national identity isn’t a lack of understanding of what China has achieved, but rather, what the country has failed to achieve yet, says an observer. Photo: HKEJ

Fostering national identity among the youth

After shifting to a path of sweeping, nationwide reform and opening up in the late 1970s, China achieved remarkable economic progress in the following decades.

However, the mainland failed to live up to the moral standards held dear by many people in the world, including Hong Kong citizens, when it came to issues such as human rights, rule of law, free speech and freedom of information.

Given that major shortcoming, we can say that what is preventing the Hong Kong youth from embracing a sense of national identity isn’t a lack of understanding of what China has achieved, but rather, what the country has failed to achieve yet.

That being said, when implementing the national education curriculum, I believe authorities should work along two lines simultaneously.

One, we should enhance the understanding of Chinese cultural tradition among our young people.

The Endeavour Education Centre, which is spearheaded by figures such as former Legislative Council president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai and former Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing, has put forward some very useful ideas on how to achieve that.

Next, the government should foster young people’s knowledge about progress in different aspects, including on political, cultural, economic and environmental matters, in relation to the mainland, using various means including inspection tours.

I believe we must tell young Hong Kong people the whole truth about the mainland, delving into both its merits and demerits, without resorting to propaganda that plays on emotions.

If the country makes good and genuine progress on the above-mentioned issues, it will eventually be viewed more favorably in Hong Kong.  

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 23

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/RC

PhD student in economics at Stanford