Comic book for students raises indoctrination fears among parents

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 July, 2013, 8:30pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 July, 2013, 8:53pm

A comic book handed out to primary schools to promote the Basic Law has renewed fears over mainland indoctrination, a concern group said on Wednesday.

Student activist group Scholarism said on its Facebook page that some parents had reported being worried after they found “problematic” statements in the coloured booklet.

The Chinese-language comic, entitled Primary Student Handbook of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, is published by the Joint Committee for the Promotion of the Basic Law of Hong Kong. The committee is a prominent non-governmental group set up in the 1990s to promote the city’s mini-constitution.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, property tycoon Li Ka-shing and former justice secretary Elsie Leung Oi-sie are honorary advisers to the committee, according to a list on its website.

The committee said the booklet was “intended to show the key points of the Basic Law to primary school pupils through lively comics”.

But one mother whose daughter received a copy of the comic said much of it had no bearing on the subject of the Basic Law at all and she was concerned that the comic was being used to impart blind nationalism in the minds of the students.

“It can be a dangerous brainwashing tool. Children are too young to form judgment,” she said.

On one page of the comic the text reads: “Taiwan is a sacred part of our country’s territory. To solve the Taiwan problem, and to realise the fatherland’s unification is our holy mission.”

On another page, the text states that from 1840 China was poor and weak and people’s lives were tough and that only after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 did the people became their own masters and the country start heading toward becoming strong and prosperous again.

On a third page, five fictional policemen hold a flag-raising ceremony and the text reads: “Whenever we see the national flag flying in the wind, and hear the national anthem, our hearts are filled with a sense of pride for being Chinese.”

Scholarism, which took the centre stage in last year’s city-wide campaign against the national education curriculum, said they would discuss the booklet with other concern groups to see what to do about it.

Last July’s campaign began after it was revealed a liberal studies reference booklet, entitled The China Model, contained biased content.

Education groups and students have since become increasingly wary of textbooks and publications.