Chinese University hits back at claim of 'US influence'

Book's allegation concerning liberal studies curriculum denounced as 'irresponsible'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 November, 2012, 3:13am

Chinese University has dismissed as "irresponsible and fictitious" an allegation that it allowed a US foundation to influence a liberal studies curriculum.

The claim was made in a publication called Blue Book of Hong Kong: Annual Report on Development of Hong Kong (2012), which was chief edited by Victor Sit Fung-shuen, director of Baptist University's advanced institute for contemporary China studies.

Sit caused an outcry earlier this year when his China Model Handbook was supplied to schools to help them teach pupils about the mainland.

It described the Communist Party as a selfless and progressive entity, and was one of the causes of controversy that led to the scrapping of the government's national education curriculum - which critics said was a form of brainwashing.

The Blue Book says: "As universities, secondary and primary schools have been requested to set up [the subject of] liberal studies [or general education] ... a multitude of intrusion of Western-style universal values has been facilitated.

"For example, the Chinese University's general education curriculum is sponsored - and its materials co-written - by a US foundation. Its teaching direction has, in practice, been dominated by that foundation."

Chinese University's Office of General Education issued a statement rejecting the allegation.

"[The statement] is irresponsible [and] fictitious," it said. "The misrepresentations in relation to our university's general education [curriculum] are shocking."

It says all general education courses offered to students were designed by university staff after thorough research and discussion, and have been approved by the relevant committees.

A Baptist University source told the South China Morning Post that the centre Sit chairs should have apologised to Chinese University, and a correction was expected in the English version of the Blue Book.

Apart from the allegation against Chinese University, the Blue Book also says the top civil servants in all bureaus - permanent secretaries - should be appointed by the authorities in Beijing.