Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents marched yesterday to protest plans to implement Chinese national education lessons into the city's curriculum.
More than 90,000 parents, students and social activists took to the streets Sunday to stand against introducing a "Moral and National Education" subject, according to organizers, while police estimated the turnout at 32,000, reported CNN. While curriculum content has not yet been determined, guidelines were distributed to schools in a booklet called "The China Model," written by the government's National Education Services Centre.
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The booklet includes provocative statements, claiming that China's ruling party is "progressive, selfless and united," CNN said. It also said multi-party systems bring disaster to countries like the United States and made no mention of major Chinese historical events, such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
Protesters wore black and white to symbolize the contract between right and wrong, and carried signs stating, "We don't need no thought control," according to Bloomberg. The government said it planned to introduce the subject in state-run primary schools in Hong Kong starting in September. Classes will be extended to secondary schools from 2013 and the lessons will be phased in over three years, with an aim to foster Chinese identity.
Most parents said they did not take issue with national education or their children learning about Chinese language, culture and politics, reported The New York Times. Their problem was with this specific curriculum, which appears to be heavy on pro-Communist Party propaganda.
"National education is necessary. Every country has it, but not like this," said Elaine Yau, who was at the protest with her 7-year-old daughter.