Hong Kong’s Education Bureau released guidelines Thursday for a new “national security education” curriculum that would see children as young as six being taught about the offenses of secession, collusion, terrorism and subversion under Hong Kong’s national security law (NSL).
The guidelines come as the latest development in the government’s implementation of the NSL that came into effect in July. Article 10 of this controversial law stipulates that “[t]he Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall promote national security education in schools and universities … to raise the awareness of Hong Kong residents of national security and of the obligation to abide by the law.”
According to one circular, the aim of the new curriculum is to “develop in students a sense of belonging to the country, an affection for the Chinese people, a sense of national identity, as well as an awareness of and a sense of responsibility for safeguarding national security.” Furthermore, it aims to encourage students to be “good citizens who … show respect for the rule of law and abide by the law.” The new curriculum places emphasis on encouraging submission and “law-abidingness” in students. Almost 40 percent of the participants in Hong Kong’s 2019 anti-government protests were students.
The guidelines instruct teachers to tell students that “as far as national security is concerned, there is no room for debate or compromise.” Speaking to Reuters, the head of the Professional Teachers’ Union, Ip Kin-yuen, said that the new guidelines would create a “restrictive and suppressive” education style that would stifle independent thinking.