Friday, 11 March 2016

Pushing HK Kids Towards the Motherland

The highly-revered flag-raising ceremony in Tiananmen Square
Earlier this week on the sidelines of the National People's Congress, it was suggested by a leader of the Communist Youth League that more youngsters from Hong Kong should take part in the central government's overseas visits to enhance their relationship with China.

Liu Jiachen, head of the United Front Work Department of the league's central committee, said young people from Hong Kong and Macau rarely joined such delegations abroad.

"Allowing them to participate would strengthen their sense of identity with the country and pride in the nation," he said.

"[China's] status as a major diplomatic powerhouse would also make young people from Hong Kong and Macau very proud."

Hong Kong students said "no" to national education in 2012

What would they be proud of?

Has Liu not been following what's been happening, particularly in Hong Kong with the localist movement here?

Liu probably also doesn't know that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has been encouraging local students to go on subsidized cross-border exchanges at least twice during their primary and secondary schooling to better understand the mainland.

But the response has been lukewarm probably because many perceive the exercise to have a political agenda.

He Junke, executive secretary of the league's central committee, conceded that the tours needed to be more objective.

"[The exchange trips] shouldn't just show the good side, but they can also show the difficult side of the country," He said.

Fung Wai-wah, president of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers Union, said the trips clearly had a political agenda, though he would welcome the visits if they were more balanced.

Cheng Yiu-tong wants HK to adopt national education
"In the past, many have the impression that these tours are biased," Fung said. "If they want to change that... they shouldn't just show the economic success and wealth [of China], but also the problems."

However, Cheng Yiu-tong, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, and a Hong Kong deputy to the NPC, proposed the city should adopt national education.

"We have not done enough in the 19 years since the handover, so we should do it starting from primary schools," Cheng said.

He also said because of the city's economic problems, "the green light in front of young people has dimmed... they don't see a future, and many people became nostalgic" for colonial rule.

Is Cheng just saying this to get brownie points? National education is such a contentious issue, that for him to bring it up again is like bringing a live bomb to the table.

Young people don't see a future mainly in part because of the Hong Kong government's policies try to please Beijing rather than the city's residents, and the influx of mainlanders have jacked up prices for everything from everyday goods to real estate.

Students (brainwashed by their own anti-Communist parents) aren't interested in learning more about the mainland, and they are right to be skeptical about trips organized by Beijing.

It's a tough call, but until the tours are more balanced, not many Hong Kong kids are going to go willingly to the mainland for educational purposes.

Students really should see the country by themselves to make up their own mind what their relationship to China is. They may come out of it afterwards loving the country more, or hating it more.

But that would at least be a true education.

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