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.
Freedom of speech still cherished and protected in SAR
Alex Chan ("Self-righteous stance lowers tone of debate", October 11) says that if expatriates want to join the national education debate, they should learn to discuss rationally.
I, for one, strongly question the rationale of his comments made in his latest letter.
Mr Chan (of Santa Barbara, California) states that we expatriates are in Hong Kong because we can't find opportunities back home.
First of all, I should inform your correspondent that I was born and raised here in Hong Kong, with Anglo-Chinese parents, and, unlike him, continue to reside in the city. Therefore, I believe I am in a better position than he is to debate current affairs here, and his labelling me as an expatriate in his reply to my letter ("Protesters still proud to be Chinese", September 27) is in fact inaccurate.
Furthermore, not all expatriates are in Hong Kong for the same reason, and to simply assume that all of them are in the city purely because they couldn't find work in their home countries is another fine example of bigotry displayed by some of your correspondents.
I should also inform him that it was in fact Sam Wong ("Elsie Tu is qualified to talk on issues", September 21) who first made the "stupid suggestion" that those who were opposed to national education should "renounce their Chinese nationality and say goodbye to Hong Kong as soon as possible".
I was merely responding to his original "stupid suggestion", reminding him that Hong Kong remains a society where people are free to speak their minds, unlike those across the border. I would remind correspondents like Alex Chan, Cynthia Sze, Sam Wong and Pierce Lam that those who protested against national education are not guilty of any wrongdoing and were merely exercising their right to free speech. Whatever views or opposition Beijing loyalists like Mr Chan and Ms Sze may have towards free speech, speaking out against the inappropriate brainwashing of pupils is a concrete example of it.
Last, but not least, Mr Chan suggests that I and Ray Peacock ("Values would find resonance across border", October 8) have "bizarre" ideas, yet it seems he is the one with some rather bizarre ideas, such as "Catholics should migrate to the Vatican and Christians should relinquish evangelism and go to live with their Heavenly Father", and that "'free speech' is never a qualification for the right of abode anywhere in the world".
My advice to Mr Chan is that, before accusing others of being self-righteous, chauvinistic and irrational, he should take a good look at himself first.
Andrew Nunn, Tai Po