Hong Kong schools should do more to promote national security, says education secretary

  • Activities such as playing the Chinese national anthem or a flag raising ceremony would promote better understanding of the law, he said
  • The Education Bureau has previously released guidelines for teaching the law in schools

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A National Security Education Day banner is displayed at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. Photo: SCMP/Nora Tam

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said schools should hold more regular activities to promote understanding of the city’s national security law in a blog post on Sunday.

Yeung said his bureau had sent a letter to schools advising them to hold more activities, such as playing the Chinese national anthem or holding a flag raising ceremony, during the days around “National Security Education Day” on Thursday.

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“Through morning assemblies, head teachers’ classes and other classes, teachers can explain important national security concepts,” he wrote. “Schools can hold different types of activities to encourage students to actively study and apply the relevant information.”

Yeung’s suggestions came after the Education Bureau issued a set of guidelines in February on the national security law, covering everything from school management and curriculum to students’ behaviour and the responsibilities of faculty in relation to the law.

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Under the guidelines, children as young as six must learn the law’s basic concepts as well as the names of its four designated offences – subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces – while schools have been told they have to call police in “grave or emergency” situations, such as students chanting or displaying slogans, singing political songs or forming human chains.

“National security education is an integral part of national education, so we should strive to cultivate student’s national sense, national sentiments and national identity,” Yeung said.

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The minister said his bureau would continue to stick to its multipronged approach in supporting schools, including providing teaching materials and exemplars, and giving advice on activities to help schools promote the topic on and off campus.

“The Education Bureau will continue to provide relevant training for teachers and professional support and advice for schools through school visits and forming study groups among teachers,” Yeung said.

“I hope that students can understand that as part of the nation, they have the responsibility to understand the national culture, tradition and history, and to contribute to the nation and Hong Kong society.”

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