Teach Hong Kong children all aspects of Chinese history, even Cultural Revolution excesses
Beijing would be delighted if all children were taught how evil Britain was in 1841, as suggested by your correspondent Peter Wu in his letter of August 29 (“Should Hong Kong Chinese be proud of the birth of the British Crown Colony in 1842?”).
I am sure that Beijing would not be so happy with an exposure of the mistakes of their system of government. I visited China first in 1966, just as the Cultural Revolution started. People were paralysed with fear. I employed Chinese staff who went every month to give food to their relatives in China. Millions died of starvation because of the misguided policies of the Communist Party in the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Tens of millions died unnecessary deaths, millions of them in extrajudicial killings.
Why did millions of Chinese leave China after the communist victory of 1949 to go and live in the evil British colony of Hong Kong? They went because they could eat. They went because there was a system of laws that prevented the government from carrying out extrajudicial killings. They went because they could see what they want and read and talk as they liked. The new Hongkongers could say “Down with the Governor” or “To hell with the Queen” – without fear of retribution.
Even today China is controlled by the Communist Party. It is still a totalitarian state that controls what you can see and what you can say. Even today there are corrective labour camps but they are now called re-education camps. According to a recent United Nations report there are one million Uygurs in these camps and who knows how many Tibetans and others who do not love President Xi Jinping. You only get exterminated if the government thinks that they cannot re-educate you.
Let us make all history available to our students, not just the evil British one of 1841.
Alan Crawley, Sai Kung