| Global Times | 2012-9-3 0:40:05
By Bai Tiantian
Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of Hong Kong, said Sunday night that he understands the resolve of demonstrators protesting against the upcoming patriotic education program and hopes they end their hunger strike for the sake of their health.
Leung denied the course is intended to "brainwash" people and said the government is open for communication and negotiation, the website of Commercial Radio of Hong Kong reported.
Ten demonstrators in Hong Kong launched a new round of hunger strikes on Sunday as they camped outside the government building protesting the soon-to-be-introduced program.
Members of Hong Kong's Alliance of Anti-patriotic Education, including local students, parents and teachers, joined the hunger strike "relay race" on the fourth day of the protest after three high school students concluded their 56-hour hunger strike due to deteriorating health Saturday midnight.
Protesters urged the government to call off the program by 5 pm on Monday as the new school year approaches.
"When this protest ends depends on the government's response," said Mr Troi, secretary of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union (HKPTU) who declined to give his full name.
Wang Hongcai, an education professor at Xiamen University, told the Global Times that promoting patriotic education in Hong Kong is not going to be an easy task.
"Patriotic courses are easily misunderstood," said Wang, "actually, the main purpose is to expose students to Chinese culture, history as well as the mainland's political system."
Wang said that as Hong Kong had been under colonial rule for the past century, it is reasonable that Hong Kong people perceive things differently from both a cultural and political aspect.
The HKPTU has been a major force in the anti-patriotic alliance and two of its members, including 63-year-old retired English teacher Hon Lin-shan, were participants of the second hunger strike.
The HK Education Bureau announced in April that it would follow recommendations to delay the program until 2015 instead of this year.
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