Lessons would breed Chinese pride
I am writing to comment on whether nationalistic education, including nationalism, national identity and patriotic education, should be compulsory in schools.
Following the handover in 1997, Hong Kong became part of China. However, according to some university surveys, many locals still consider themselves as Hongkongers instead of Chinese nationals. This reflects a lack of belonging to our motherland.
Also, many locals don't know much about conditions in China and get all their information through the internet and mass media. This might not reflect a true and accurate picture of the mainland.
Nationalistic education should be implemented in schools to teach students the correct attitude towards our nation. I really hope that one day people will say loudly and confidently that they are proud of being Chinese.
Lau Leo Hon-pan, Hang Seng School of Commerce
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Leo. What a thorny subject. It would be interesting to see what other readers think. Many countries abhor exactly this sort of government interference in their education system. It smacks of brain-washing. Democratic countries want their citizens to think critically about national affairs, without being prompted by a government propaganda campaign.
Lessons in national history and civic responsibilities might be a better way of tackling this.
Yet it is difficult to argue that China gets a fair representation in the Western media. Sadly most media focus only on things that are wrong, as things going right are not considered 'good' news. For instance, when a new dam is being built, it is easy to find people who do not want to move out of their homes to make way for the project. But it is seldom followed up with interviews of people who benefit from the dam.
Many people would object, however, to 'patriotic education' as the idea opens up the possibility of misuse by a government that should be serving the people.