Friday, September 14, 2012

Blog 3: Hong Kong Protests China "Patriotism" Classes

Blog 3 Hong Kong Protests China ‘Patriotism’ Classes
Last Modified 30 July 2012
14 September 2012

The Chinese government has introduced national education lessons into the school system. This classes focus on the “building of national harmony, identity, and unity among individuals” explains Carrie Lam, the chief secretary. Lam also states that the classes will be taught in a way as to “educate [their] students to have independent thinking, to be able analyse situations and come to an objective judgment.” Much of the  Hong Kong population is directly opposed to this idea. If we look at this ethnocentrically we will only see that the Chinese government is trying to instill a sense of state pride in its young children. However if we take a step back and use the sociological imagination perspective or on an more ethnorelative level we will be able to better understand why Hong Kongers are so against the idea.

After 150 years of British rule in 1997 Hong Kong finally gained it’s independence from the UK. Today it is considered a semi-autonomous part of mainland China. Hong Kong has it’s own political and legal systems that guarantee civil liberties not seen in China. Some of these such liberties are freedom of speech and association. If the Chinese government continues with mandatory “patriotism” classes Hong Kongers believe that their culture will be a victim of ethnocide, meaning their culture will be destroyed. Many of the parents see this as an attempt to “brainwash” their children because the curriculum used only “paints a rosy picture about the Communist Party.” Other parents believe that “this is an attempt to introduce the mainland China
agenda in Hong Kong schools.

In response to the implemented classes the people of Hong Kong decided to protest against it. In July of this year approximately 90,000 demonstrators showed their lack of support for the classes. One of the students protesting against this change believes national education is fine, but it should not be done “in a biased way.” Another student stated that “the curriculum makes no mention about issues like the Tiananmen Square crackdown or who is Ai Weiwei” and that because of this many “are not convinced it can encourage independent thinking”.

It seems like China is holding a state primacy view. Rather than China using the education system to insinuate that the Hong Kong population assimilate to the Chinese way perhaps they can develop a curriculum that is more representative of the Chinese past. Perhaps this would make Hong Kongers more willing to acculturate and maybe even develop a syncretic culture.

No comments: