Textbook reviews are nothing unusual. But the amendments that saw a raft of sensitive materials dropped from liberal studies in senior secondary schools have inevitably raised concerns. While the government may want the education sector to steer clear of the political red lines, there needs to be latitude for different perspectives to help stimulate critical thinking and informed analysis, without which the purpose of the subject would be defeated. The removal of illustrations showing protest symbols and slogans as well as the reference about the “separation of powers” in relation to the executive, legislative and judicial branches are just a few examples of how textbook contents have been watered down by a government “professional consultancy service”, under which publishers “voluntarily” submit their liberal studies teaching materials for “improvement” in return for official recommendation for school usage. Criticisms against China’s rule of law and the enforcement actions of the Hong Kong police were also deleted. Although the changes were made by publishers upon advice, the process is arguably no different from censorship. Hong Kong publishers make changes to Liberal Studies textbooks after review The changes are perhaps unsurprising amid paradigm shifts triggered by the new national security law. While the ordinance upholds the freedom of publication and other rights enshrined in the Basic Law, it also mandates the strengthening of supervision and regulation over national security matters in relation to education and other areas. Indeed, the review is still seen as not going far enough for those who blame the subject for radicalising the youngsters. It goes without saying that textbooks should be free of unlawful elements. Some revised content, such as the stress on the legal consequence of civil disobedience, is not unjustified. That said, some materials in question, such as protest slogans, are branded as “separatism” by officials without the backing of any court ruling yet. There are concerns that the authorities have gone too far and stifled discussion and learning. The subject aims to nurture critical thinking and enhance knowledge of Hong Kong, China and the world. Instead of shying away from sensitive topics, there should still be room for liberal learning under the red lines.