HK youth need to learn more about the nation

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/7 20:23:39

Editor's Note:

Political and social instability in Hong Kong in recent years shows that young people in the city have been short of knowledge about the Chinese mainland and misinterpreted their national identity. What happens to Hong Kong's education? In what way can Hong Kong make youth more educated about the nation? Global Times reporter Xing Xiaojing talked to two Hong Kong deputies to the 13th National People's Congress during the ongoing two sessions.

Ma Fung-kwok, member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council and chairman of the Hong Kong Film Development Council

Our education system has had some problems since Hong Kong returned to China in 1997. Our focus now should be on the patriotic education of young people because our previous efforts in this direction haven't worked out as expected. We need the help of mainland resources in this process.

In addition, due economic woes, Hong Kong people's living standard has not been taken good care of. As a result, young people feel confused about their future and are dissatisfied with society. They are resentful of the mainland due to inflammatory reports in the media.

All this has to be addressed through enhanced national education. The most effective approach to national education is to enable Hong Kong youngsters to be in close contact with the mainland in their daily lives and education, and to make them believe that going to the mainland can enable them broaden their horizons and see more cutting edge stuff. Education over simply trumpeting patriotism can produce little effect. Steps to increase the number of Hong Kong students entering mainland schools should be our major task in the future.

We know that higher education on the mainland has developed very well, with many excellent universities. The top universities can be in touch with their counterparts in the US and Europe. But most people in Hong Kong still think that outstanding students should go overseas and only those unqualified for universities in Hong Kong or overseas choose to study on the mainland. I suggest that mainland universities be more proactive in enrolling Hong Kong students. If Hong Kong students desire to study on the mainland and compete to get admitted, the overall atmosphere in Hong Kong will therefore change.

Besides, I'm among the first ones to propose that young people in Hong Kong serve in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) because a serviceman not only grows personally, but influences people around him. A youngster will find it very appealing to fulfill his obligation to protect the country and even devote his life to the purpose. I don't mean every young people in Hong Kong need to join the PLA. But it will produce extensive benefits if those wanting to serve the army are given the chance. On the other hand, military training can help Hong Kong youngsters build discipline and group solidarity and feel closer to the motherland.

I have been chairing the military summer camp program for six years. It conscripts Hong Kong students to receive military training in the PLA Garrison in Hong Kong. This activity needs to be expanded to involve more people. My son has had such an experience in Guangzhou. I hope more young people can have close contact with the army. 

Lam Lung-on, vice president of All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce and chairman of Yuzhou Properties Company

Last year was the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. For the celebrations, I brought a group of students from six Hong Kong universities to visit several cities on the mainland and met other Hong Kong students studying in Beijing. About half of the students had not visited Shenzhen, let alone the rest of the mainland.

Throughout the trip, these students learnt extensively. They visited Beijing's culturally iconic hutong, or traditional alleys in imperial-era neighborhoods, and experienced calligraphy. They witnessed the tremendous changes and robust development in Shanghai that resulted from the reform and opening up. In the Memorial Hall of the Victims of Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, they saw how brutally their compatriots were treated when China was impoverished and backward, and many burst into tears. They realized the pain of being a Chinese during those times and the need to cherish today's life.

I also guided them on a tour of my company telling them how I benefited from the reform and opening up as an entrepreneur. They drew on my personal experience the prosperity China achieved, and realized that there are abundant opportunities awaiting them on the mainland.

When the trip ended, many students said they wanted to find jobs on the mainland. And I encouraged them to be involved in the mainland's economic development, be more confident in themselves and in the country.


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