Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the government will post Chinese national education teaching materials for public viewing, a day after thousands marched across the city to denounce the curriculum.
Tens of thousands of parents, students and social activists on July 29 protested government plans to introduce the curriculum in government-run primary schools in the city starting in September. The authorities intend to extend the classes, which aim to foster Chinese identity, to secondary schools from 2013 and phase in the lessons over three years.
The textbooks in the program will give a pro-Communist Party account of China’s history and political system, according to Willy Wo-Lap Lam, an adjunct professor of history at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong won’t force the introduction of the lessons in September, Leung said in a government statement yesterday. Introducing moral and national education is not a political task for the new government, said Leung, who was inaugurated as the city’s chief executive less than a month ago.
Posting the educational materials “can allay the fears of parents and the education sector that the subject will brainwash students,” according to the statement.
Government talks with opponents to delay the new curriculum collapsed this past weekend, the South China Morning Post reported in its July 29 edition.
One textbook explains how the Communist Party is a progressive, united and effective ruler, comparing it with the U.S. where a two-party system leads to eternal debates and gridlock, said Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. There is no mention of the Cultural Revolution or the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square, according to Lam.
“The level of crudity is even worse than that of the textbooks you find in China,” Lam said by phone on July 29 before the rally.
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