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"Necessary brainwashing." That's a phrase the culture chief of Chinese Communist Party's Hong Kong liaison office used last month in a blog post. He said that Hong Kong should adopt the Communist Party's "national education" as a way to brainwash schoolchildren there into being more patriotic. On Saturday, a panel discussion in Hong Kong was the latest public event to criticize these plans.
The panel came on the 22nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. It was called "June 4th and Civic Education."
The head of Hong Kong's Alliance of Civic Education expressed his concern over the plan.
[Dr. Leung Yan-wing, Alliance of Civic Education]
"I'm very worried that under this proposal, the future generation would be molded into something that's harmful to the country. This should not be the legacy of June 4th."
The communist official who initially wrote the blog post is Hao Tiechuan. Hao wrote that while these classes might be considered "brainwashing," they're nonetheless "necessary brainwashing." He indicated national education should toe the line of the central government.
[Siu Kin Tao, Vice President, HK University Students' Union Council]
"The CCP government wants to wash the next generation's social consciousness. It's a type of brainwashing, using education to achieve stability. This will destroy students' critical thinking abilities, creating confusion between patriotism to the country and the regime, and result in blind patriotism."
The compulsory moral and national education is set to begin next year for elementary and secondary students. It was originally proposed by Hong Kong's Chief Executive Donald Tsang after Chinese leader Hu Jintao mentioned it during a visit in 2007.