Beijing White Paper 2014

Parents' white-paper petition 'for next generation'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 June, 2014, 4:05am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 June, 2014, 5:24am

A parents' group has launched an online petition against the State Council's white paper on Hong Kong, saying it breaks the promises that Beijing made in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and Basic Law.

"As parents who grew up and raised our children in Hong Kong, if we don't take action to defend 'one country, two systems', we'll be ashamed to face our next generations," said Eva Chan Sik-chee, convenor of the Parents' Concern Group on National Education.

The group fought off plans for compulsory national education in schools in 2012.

The subject, aimed at instilling in pupils a sense of belonging towards the motherland, was condemned by critics as brainwashing.

She said parents feared that the Beijing report would harm children's understanding of the "one country, two systems" policy as it "has reinterpreted the policy and undermined Hong Kong's judicial independence".

"It's clearly stated in the Basic Law and the joint declaration that Hong Kong enjoys ... executive, legislative, independent judicial power and final adjudication," she said. "But the white paper mentioned 'comprehensive jurisdiction' - something that we've never heard before."

The white paper, released on June 10, says Beijing has "comprehensive jurisdiction" over Hong Kong and that some Hongkongers are "confused and lopsided" in their understanding of the "one country, two systems" principle.

"Such a claim has completely shaken our core values," Chan said.

Following the publication of the Education Bureau's latest curriculum guide for primary schools which stresses the need to "deepen understanding" of the Basic Law and "one country, two systems", she appealed to teachers for a classroom boycott of the white paper.

"Some pro-Beijing educators had proposed including the white paper in classes … but there are serious doubts in society about its contents so teachers should not refer to it, neither should students," Chan said.

She called on Hongkongers - especially parents - to sign the petition on the group's website by midnight on July 4 and donate money to help pay for advertisements to publish the signatures in local newspapers next month.