New textbooks despatched to Hong Kong secondary faculties educate that the town was not a British colony, however an occupied territory — a recasting of historical past that’s a part of Beijing’s ideological clampdown within the metropolis.
The textbooks search to move off requires self-determination within the metropolis following a wave of anti-government protests in 2019, during which some contributors referred to as for independence.
“Even [though] Britain occupied Hong Kong . . . the Chinese Government did not recognise such unequal treaties and insisted [on] her sovereignty over Hong Kong,” reads one “exemplar answer” in a textbook launched by Modern Educational Research Society, a Hong Kong writer.
“Therefore, Hong Kong did not satisfy the condition of ‘a country losing sovereignty’ and was not a colony,” the textbook reads.
At least 5 textbooks despatched to Hong Kong secondary faculties for pre-publication assessment stress that the present Chinese authorities by no means recognised the historic treaties that ceded the territory to the UK.
Several add that the UN’s elimination of Hong Kong from its record of non-self-governing territories in 1972 meant that the worldwide physique’s help for decision on self-rule in colonised locations was not relevant to the town.
“This shows that international law confirms that the Hong Kong issue is within the scope of China’s sovereign rights,” reads one Chinese-language textbook from Hong Kong-based Aristo Educational Press.
The books had been despatched to colleges as a part of the town’s new “citizenship and social development” course, which final 12 months changed a liberal research programme that Beijing loyalists blamed for radicalising college students to participate in anti-government protests in 2019.
Hong Kong authorities have been intensifying strain on faculties to take a Chinese nationalist line, a drive that final 12 months prompted the town’s largest academics’ union to disband.
Britain occupied Hong Kong in 1841 throughout the first opium battle and China’s ruling Qing Dynasty ceded the island the next 12 months. Other than a interval of Japanese occupation throughout the second world battle, Britain administered the town as a colony and dependent territory till 1997, when it was handed over to the People’s Republic of China.
The Aristo ebook stated Hong Kong was tied to China by advantage of “racial ties”, “cultural heritage”, “language system” and “garrisons”, in addition to by financial and political jurisdiction.
The 5 books are a part of an inventory of seven texts that faculties will select from to make use of in instructing the brand new course. They have been vetted by the town’s Education Bureau, and are anticipated to be in use for senior secondary faculty college students from September.
The textbooks additionally repeat Beijing’s characterisation of the pro-democracy demonstrations in 2019 as violent riots stoked by “external forces”.
Chan Chi-wa, a secondary faculty instructor for greater than three many years, stated that earlier than 2019, textbooks not often touched on the notion that the town was not a colony, however this viewpoint had been relayed to academics since final 12 months at seminars held by the schooling authorities.
“The most difficult part for teachers is to explain to students why when [Hong Kong] was viewed by many as a colony, it no longer is the case now,” stated Chan.
Aristo Educational Press, Modern Educational Research Society and Marshall Cavendish Education, which launched one of many books, didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
Hong Kong Educational Publishing Company, which launched two books, and the Hong Kong Education Bureau declined to touch upon the textbooks’ contents.
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