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  • Sep 29, 2014
  • Updated: 2:24am

National Education

The Hong Kong government has sought since 2007 to introduce "national education" courses into primary and secondary school curriculum, aimed at strengthening students' "national identity awareness" and nurturing patriotism towards China. The programme has met with increasing public opposition in recent years, with many in Hong Kong seeing it as a brainwashing attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to suppress dissent. 

Live coverage: Hongkongers join carnival, protest against national education

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 September, 2012, 1:36pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 September, 2012, 8:40am

Updated at 11:23pm

Crowds at Tamar Park swelled as night fell. Police estimated the number of protesters reached 8,100, while organisers said as many as 40,000 attended. 

The three secondary school students on hunger strike against national education were due to end their fast at midnight due to health reasons, but at least 10 university students, professors and parents volunteered to take up the hunger strike until September 3.

Lily Wong Lee-lee, Ivan Lam Long-yin and another student calling himself Kaiser stopped taking food at 4pm on Thursday. They were showing dangerous physical signs of exhaustion, including feeling dizzy when they were flashed by a camera. They were due to be examined by doctors soon. Reporting by Simpson Cheung and Jennifer Ngo

 

Updated at 8:00pm

Correction: in our 1:50pm update, we incorrectly identified Wong Chi-fung as one of the three teenage hunger strikers. We have corrected this error. 

 

Real voices: the September 1 carnival and demonstration against national education. 

Video by Helene Franchineau

 

Updated at 6.47pm

A huge crowd gathers at Tamar Park (below) to watch a free music concert protesting against national education. A musician (above)performs in the rain outside goverment headquarters Photo: Stephen Quinn

 

Updated at 5.52pm

People watch a concert at Tamar Park during a protest-carnival against national education on Saturday. Video by Stephen Quinn

 

Updated at 5.37pm

Hektor Yan King-tak teaches higher education and came out in protest against national education. "I think what education minister said on the silent majority supporting national education is a false dichotomy. You could have stayed home and supported, or you could have gone out on the streets and not have supported. Things are never so black and white." Reporting by Jennifer Cheng

 

Updated at 4.55pm

Although Johnny Kwok Chun-chai has just graduated from Cheung Chuk Shan College and will be entering university this week, he is adamant on preventing national education from being introduced into schools. He is convenor of a concern group of 10 people comprising current students and alumni. Running a booth at the carnival marks the group's first activity, Kwok said:  "The school was very supportive of our activity. They just asked to read our pamphlets that we would be distributing at the carnival."

 

Updated at 4.21pm

Amnesty International campaigner Connie Chan Man-wai poses at the alternative school opening ceremony. "People have been very creative with their booths and the parents are so passionate. We have been discussing issue with parents and about what the next steps will be in our protest." Jennifer Cheng.

 

Updated at 4.04pm

Ivy Ip Wai-min and boyfriend Vince Leung Chun-hung, both 28 and architects, came to support Scholarism. "National education doesn't teach how to differentiate between what's right and wrong. We are not in school anymore but we may have children one day. We have to speak up for the next generation." Reporting by Jennifer Cheng.

 

Updated at 3.49pm

Hazel Pang Tsz-tsun is a 10-year-old primary six pupil who visited the carnival with her family on Saturday. At the village made of cardboard, Pang said she shook the house that her younger brother was in to show it was a house made of "tofu" – the name given to the houses that collapsed in China's Sichuan earthquake due to the government using low quality construction material. "Because there is brainwashing in China, when the earthquake struck – people didn't realise that many deaths occured because the government did not build the houses properly, she said" Reporting by Jennifer Cheng. 

 

Updated at 3.34pm

Pastor Chong Chun-wai brought his 3-year-old son Chong Tsz-yuet to the carnival. "I find national education alarming because the assessment is based on emotions. Throughout history, national education has proved to be destructive – take Germany and Japan in war time, as examples. My son might be too young to understand, but I tell him that when someone tells him to do something that's wrong, he needs to speak up." Reporting by Jennifer Cheng. 

 

Updated at 3:30pm

Video clip of children playing at a makeshift playground made of cardboard boxes at a carnival-protest against national education outside the Legislative Council Building on Saturday by Stephen Quinn.

 

Updated at 3:20pm

Video clips of protesters beating drums, holding up placards at the protest scene outside the Legislative Council Building on Saturday by Stephen Quinn.

 

 

Updated at 3pm 
At least 500 people took part in the anti-national education carnival outside the government headquarters in Tamar on Saturday. The atmosphere feels less like a political rally and more like a a vibrantly rowdy fun fair for children, including a playground made of cardboard, albeit it with elements of civic education thrown in for good measure.  Reporting by Jennifer Cheng. 

 

Updated at 2:40pm

Video clips from the protest scene outside the Legislative Council Building on Saturday by Stephen Quinn.

 

 

Updated at 2.05pm

Video clip from the protest scene outside the Legislative Council Building on Saturday by Stephen Quinn.

 

Updated at 1.50pm

Activist Wong Chi-fung was hit in the head with a plastic water bottle by a senior citizen, identity unknown. Wong suffered no apparent injuries. 

 

Updated at 1.35pm

A crowd of about 200 people gather at the protest site on Tim Wey Street, out of the Legislative Council Building in Central on Saturday..

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