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.
'Occupy Tamar' ends, but protesters vow to fight on to scrap national education
While anti-national education organisers ended their “Occupy Tamar” campaign on Saturday night, following the chief executive’s announcement of a change in policy, on Sunday morning some participants said they planned to fight on.
The campaign against national education, organised by students, teachers and parents groups, attracted thousands of supporters who rallied outside the government headquarters in Admiralty to protest every night for more than a week.
On Saturday night Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying staged a dramatic turnaround on the controversial national education classes by scrapping the three-year deadline for implementation and saying schools would be free to choose independently whether to teach the subject.
But this did not satisfy some protesters.
“Withdrawing the three-year deadline is not enough,” said tertiary education student Ivan Mak Chun-wing. “National education still poses a danger to Hong Kong.”
Mak joined the campaign on Monday and planned to return on Sunday night, joining some others who also wanted to continue the occupation.
“The action now will be self-initiated. We have no organising group now,” he said.
Most of those still at the plaza outside the government headquarters on Sunday morning were packing away. The tents were mostly empty and volunteers were removing those that were left.
Angelo Chui Tin-yui, a new university graduate, did not think it was a good time to end the occupation, but was leaving with his friends nonetheless.
“It may give people a feeling that we are compromising,” he said. “But if they call us out to occupy anywhere again we will go.”