NPC HK deputy proposes establishing permanent national security education and training base in Hong Kong
Published: Mar 04, 2024 03:57 PM
A local school in Hong Kong holds a flag-raising ceremony. Photo:IC

A local school in Hong Kong holds a flag-raising ceremony. Photo:IC

Since the implementation of the National Security Law (NSL) for Hong Kong, local authorities and schools in the city have placed increased importance on patriotic education including adding content concerning the Constitution, the Basic Law and national security into the curriculum, said Wong Kam-leung, a deputy of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region to the National People's Congress, who hoped that Hong Kong will establish a permanent national security education and training base. 

Wong, who is also the chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers (HKFEW), told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Sunday night that there is a stronger sense of promoting patriotic education, national education and national awareness in Hong Kong, and as an educator, he said he hopes that "the next generation we cultivate will have a strong sense of patriotism and national identity."

They should be talents who love both our country and the HKSAR, Wong said, noting that he has come up with five suggestions to the two sessions after collecting about 100 opinions among local educators in Hong Kong from January to February.  

Among nearly a hundred opinions, some involve optimizing Hong Kong's education system, including increasing the content related to national education, enhancing support for sister schools in the Chinese mainland, and increasing the proportion of physical education in curriculum hours, according to a suggestion proposed by the HKFEW to the second session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC).

Additionally, many respondents also put forward recommendations concerning the overall development of the country, such as accelerating the construction of an education powerhouse, boosting birth rate, and promoting the development of technology-driven agriculture. 

In strengthening the national security education in Hong Kong, Wong pointed out the importance of highlighting the content and connotation of the overall national security concept in national security promotion and education in Hong Kong. It is also suggested to establish a permanent national security education and training base in Hong Kong to enhance its appeal and dissemination among Hong Kong residents, especially students at all levels.

Wong also emphasized the necessity of further improving the national security education system in Hong Kong by covering national security education in every educational stage and integrating it throughout the entire student development process. This is aimed at enhancing student awareness of national security, improving their ability to safeguard national security, and strengthening "the national security defense line."

"We hope to establish and improve a national security education system in Hong Kong, especially given the implementation of the NSL for Hong Kong and the anticipated enactment of additional local laws after the Article 23 legislation takes effect this year," the NPC deputy said. 

The public consultation period for the Article 23 legislation has already ended. Lou Qinjian, spokesperson for the second session of the 14th NPC, told a press conference on Monday that the NPC will fully support the HKSAR in carrying forward the relevant legislative work. 

This legislation effectively connects with the NSL for Hong Kong and integrates seamlessly with other Hong Kong laws, together forming a comprehensive legal system for safeguarding national security, Lou said. 

It is conducive to protecting national sovereignty, security and development interests, maintaining Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability, benefiting the fundamental well-being of all residents in Hong Kong, safeguarding the interests of investors from around the world in Hong Kong, and ensuring the enduring peace and order of Hong Kong, thus ensuring the steady and sustained implementation of One Country, Two Systems, the spokesperson said. 

We believe it is necessary to develop suitable teaching materials for national security education and improve practical teaching activities in this area, aiming to enrich the resources for national security education both inside and outside the classroom. 

Unlike the mainland, where there are many patriotic education bases, Hong Kong currently lacks comparable facilities. Both the government and civil society are actively promoting to establish a permanent national security education base, Wong said. 

The HKFEW has established the first patriotic education resource center in Hong Kong, he said, noting that we hope that the government can provide more support to enhance such training bases, which will also greatly benefit schools in implementing national security education initiatives. 

Starting from January 1, the highly-anticipated Patriotic Education Law took effect, which especially focuses on conducting education among schools, families and civil servants and patriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. 

Although the law has not been included into the Annex III of the Basic Law, the HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee said in his policy address in October 2023 that patriotic education would be integrated into Hong Kong's education system, and will roll out patriot education to enhance national identity. A working group would also be set up to coordinate relevant work in promoting national education, and improve education on the country's history, culture and current affairs. 

"Although the Patriotic Education Law is not directly implemented in Hong Kong, both the HKSAR government and civil society are actively promoting patriotic education initiatives. We have observed some progress in various aspects of this work," Wong said. 

Therefore, in the future, we hope the country can provide support and utilize resources from the mainland, including patriotic education bases, to facilitate the development and advancement of patriotic education in Hong Kong, he added. 

The NPC deputy told in an interview earlier that the core content of patriotic education in Hong Kong should align with that of the mainland, which includes recognizing the national system and identifying with the Communist Party of China (CPC).

"When educating our students, it is essential for them to at least acknowledge and affirm the main social system of the mainland. It is crucial for everyone to understand that the achievements of our country today, especially in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative, are attributed to the leadership of our ruling party, CPC," Wong said. 

In the patriotic education process, when we talk about loving our country, it is also essential to acknowledge and affirm the work done by our ruling party, he said, noting that we should defend the efforts made by CPC. "I believe this is an indispensable aspect of patriotic education."