Education flap in HK goes national
The controversy in Hong Kong over national-education materials published by a pro-Beijing group and criticised by some as biased has caught the attention of the mainland media.
The Global Times, a tabloid often with a nationalist bent itself, reported on the affair in its Chinese edition yesterday. But rather than siding with the publishers, the report cited Hong Kong media coverage that featured criticism from academics and teachers of the material, which they said delivered a one-sided, positive view on China without providing analysis of current social problems.
The tabloid's report, under a headline saying the material 'draws controversy for lack of reflection', was filed by its Hong Kong correspondent. The tabloid is affiliated with the People's Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece.
The Times cited RTHK's report that Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim had said the materials concerned him. Ng told local radio schools should avoid using them.
The Times report was picked up by some big mainland news portals.
The materials were published by the National Education Services Centre, a company led by pro-Beijing educator Yeung Yiu-chung. Among the controversial contents are those describing the mainland's concentrated political-power structure as something able to create 'selfless' government that brought stability.
Mainland internet users also weighed in. 'Why not just watch CCTV's main newscast if you want to know fake truths?' one reader said in a comment posted on the Global Times' website. Another posting read: 'Hong Kong students should come and visit the mainland and see if society here is really like what's described in the book.'
Some readers sided with the education centre. 'Loving the country and loving Hong Kong is the bottom line. To that end, Hong Kong students could read more about the modern history of China.'
The Hong Kong government recently announced all public primary schools must start teaching national education by 2015.