HK national education controversy highly politicized

By Chen Chenchen Source:Global Times Published: 2012-9-5 1:00:05

Opposition has been vocal since a national education course was officially introduced in Hong Kong schools Monday, the first day of the new school year. Some students also joined protests and launched a hunger strike to exert pressure on the government.

Although the Hong Kong authorities have appealed for rational view of this course and broader discussions of Hong Kong's future, a compromise between the government and the opposition groups won't be achieved any time soon.

It is a deeply rooted perception among some Hong Kong elites that the system of the special administrative region is superior, and increasing influence from the mainland will only destroy Hong Kong's uniqueness. These theories are frequently published by local media outlets, but this mentality harms Hong Kong's future.

Since Hong Kong's return to the mainland 15 years ago, issues surrounding the national awareness of locals and ties between mainland and Hong Kong residents remain subtle but thorny issues. Nevertheless, the national identity of Hong Kong residents should be emphasized, and Hong Kong's future can in no way be separated from that of the mainland.

Attempting to reduce this sense of national identity surely caters to the interests of certain groups in Hong Kong, but brings hazier prospects for Hong Kong citizens.

The controversy around the national education program, which already led to a massive protest on July 29, is aggravating social divisions in Hong Kong.

Pan-democrats, by slamming this "brainwashing," are all out to rattle the leadership of Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong's new chief executive who took office in July. It's selfish to encourage parents and teachers to give up adapting to their national identity for the sake of these pan-democrats' own political benefit.

What's worse, students are also being pulled into this political wrangle. These young boys and girls, without a glimmer of understanding of the politics of the adult world, are expected to become a political force that could confront the government.

This is both immoral and risky. In any peaceful region, students' priority is studying. History has already shown the tragedies that strike societies if their students focus on striking, protesting or even rushing to the front line of political confrontation.

Hong Kong is at the crossroads of the establishment of its national identity. It's inevitable that conflicts and frictions will rise during this process.

But we do hope elites and intellectuals can truly start from the public interest, rather than simply pushing Hong Kong into becoming a highly politicized society.

Posted in: Observer

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