Hong Kong holds first National Security Education Day as local student concern groups dub it ‘brainwashing day’

  • Schools held flag-raising ceremonies and sang the Chinese national anthem as part of the day’s activities
  • Students suggested on social media that others could look away during the ceremonies and refuse to sing ‘March of the Volunteers’
Kelly Fung |

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The flag raising ceremony at Gertrude Simon Lutheran College in Yuen Long for National Security Day. Photo: SCMP/K.Y. Cheng

Some Hong Kong secondary school concern groups called for a boycott of activities for National Security Education Day, calling it a “brainwashing day”.

Schools held flag-raising ceremonies and sang the Chinese national anthem as bookmarks and stickers about the national security law were given to students and teachers today.

One local student concern group suggested on social media that students “resist brainwashing” by looking away during the flag-raising ceremony, throwing away any materials given to them about the law, and refusing to sing the national anthem, March of the Volunteers.

A student studying in a local school in the Sha Tin district shows the National Security Education Day leaflets and bookmarks they received. Photo: Submitted by student
“As students of Hong Kong, we have a duty to protect our home, no matter how little freedom we have on campus,” one of the groups said.

Students from a total of 454 primary and secondary schools were also required to complete an online quiz competition that tests their knowledge of the People’s Republic of China and the national security law.

One participant in the competition, a Secondary Four student at St. Paul’s Co-educational College, said everyone in her school was asked to do the quiz and watch a video related to national security a few days before April 15.

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“The competition was pretty difficult for me, to be honest. Apart from national security, they test you on historical knowledge related to China, for example - where did president Mao establish the PRC?” the student said.

Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung previously urged Hong Kong schools to organise activities and assemblies with the theme of national security around the time of the first National Security Education Day.

Yeung said the education authorities will continue to adopt an interdisciplinary approach towards the concept of national security, such as “providing teaching exemplars, learning and teaching resources, and suggested activities to help schools promote national security education within and outside the classroom.

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