University students are striking in Hong Kong today, protesting the national education course that may still be offered in schools. Although Hong Kong’s leader Leung Chun-ying has rescinded the course from being mandatory, schools can still adopt it if they choose.
While the course is aimed at primary and secondary education levels, these tertiary level students still feel a responsibility to act. They say it is an issue of Hong Kong’s future as a separate system from China’s Mainland.
[Vincent Ip, Student of Hong Kong University]:
"This is a political system that affects the future of the whole of Hong Kong. If we let them push national education forward, this will directly affect future children and youths' assessments of 'one country two systems' and our independent system. It will have a direct impact. This is a rather important issue."
The national education course is seen by protesters as a form of "brainwashing" by officials who have close ties with the mainland. They say it doesn’t give an accurate picture of China’s history or the reality of its political shortfalls. If the course is allowed to be implemented in any school, protest organizer Samuel Li says, this will effect future generations' ability to think critically about China’s government.
[Samuel Li, Organizer and Secretary General of Hong Kong Federation of Students]:
"We are organizing the class boycott because the government wants to push the national education curriculum, which we worry that this curriculum will control our thought, our generation and to harm their freedom of thought."
Leung Chun-ying has expressed that he will not withdraw the course completely because doing so would be a violation of schools’ rights. Some China analysts say he also is not motivated to do so because he does want the national education course to be taught in Hong Kong.
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