HK to greatly support, align with proposed patriotic education law: chief executive
Published: Jun 27, 2023 11:16 PM
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu expresses full support to patriotic education on June 27, 2023. Photo: Snapshot from

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu expresses full support to patriotic education on June 27, 2023. Photo: Snapshot from

One day after a patriotic education law was tabled at China's top legislative body for the first time, Hong Kong regional leader said on Tuesday that the city government greatly supports patriotic education, which would help the city to develop the mainstream values of "loving the country and Hong Kong," and will align with the requirements under the draft law.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government is actively working to build a mainstream value that sees loving China and the HKSAR as its core and is in line with the One Country, Two Systems principle, and various courses have already included civic education and patriotic education, making it easier to align with related requirements, HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu told media before attending the Executive Council on Tuesday morning.

The draft law clarifies that patriotic education should combine promoting patriotic spirit with expanding openness to the outside world, and its emphasis on rationality, inclusiveness, openness, and respecting foreign history and culture is highly compatible with the actual situation in Hong Kong, Lee pointed out.

The city chief executive's remarks came as the Standing Committee of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, is reviewing a patriotic education draft law from Monday to Wednesday, which makes it clear that education on China's history, culture and national conditions will be conducted for residents from the regions of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan to strengthen their recognition of the country and its traditional culture and to consciously maintain the unity of the country.

Given the background of the national legislation on patriotic education, the HKSAR government should take the initiative to develop plans for the formulation of local education regulation to provide clear legal safeguards for the policy and curriculum of patriotic education to foster a social and political foundation for "Hong Kong is administered by patriots," Tian Feilong, a Hong Kong-Macao-Taiwan affairs expert at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Tian said that although the HKSAR government has certain policies and school courses to promote patriotic education under the National Security Law for Hong Kong, there is a lack of systematic, authoritative and clear legal safeguards. 

As some media reported that Hong Kong may not be obliged to enforce new national law on patriotic education as Article 18 of the Basic Law states that national laws shall not apply in Hong Kong except for those listed in Annex III, Tian said it has not been decided by the lawmakers yet whether to list the draft law in Annex III.

"Whether the patriotic education law is listed in Annex III or not, the HKSAR government has a statutory duty under the Constitution, the Basic Law, and the National Security Law to promote national education in Hong Kong and to 'comply' with the nation's overall patriotic education," Tian emphasized.

Submitted for review on Monday, the draft law makes targeted and specific patriotism education regulations for different groups, including public servants, employees of national enterprises and institutions, educational personnel, religious believers, residents in the regions of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, as well as overseas Chinese.

It contains provisions on patriotic education through activities such as raising the national flag, singing the national anthem and reciting constitutional oaths. According to the law, patriotic education bases - museums, sites, or venues tied to Party history and China's cultural heritage - would be elevated as key resources to promote patriotism.