As the National Security Law (NSL) has begun to ravage Hong Kong, education has quickly become one of its main targets.
The simple passing of the NSL is an assault on education in and of itself. It dictates what teachers can and cannot teach based on “political correctness” with Chinese characteristics, and thus dictates what children are allowed to learn. This includes materials they’re allowed to use, and we can already see the example of such restrictions in a recently banned children’s book. Five people have already been arrested on sedition charges, yes five people arrested for a story book about sheep. Though Beijing’s proxy government in Hong Kong hasn’t stopped at innocuous children’s tales.
Books written by pro democracy figures have also been banned, even being caught with one could land you in jail for years. This of course prevents teachers from creating a well-rounded curriculum in which they can teach students about different sides of issues, allowing children to come up with their own ideas and learn critical thinking skills that are essential in becoming a functional adult.
Now, in an obvious effort to please their Chinese Communist Party (CCP) masters, Carrie Lam and the Hong Kong government have set their sights on an institution vital to teachers around the world, their union.
Unions are vital in many fields, and they are very valuable to teachers. They ensure that they get adequate representation and have bargaining power in regards to their salary, working hours/conditions, vacation time, and much much more.
Unfortunately many teachers in Hong Kong will no longer have this resource as the Hong Kong government is cutting ties with the city’s largest teachers union, Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (HKPTU). This decision by the Education Bureau (EDB) came near hours after two state-run media agencies in China wrote about how the union, or as they describe it, this “malignant tumor,” must be destroyed.
Destroying these last vestiges of protection will help them control teachers better as they will no longer have the coverage and defense a union can provide. In turn it gives the government more control over their ultimate goal, controlling the minds of the youth.
Doing this makes perfect sense, teachers can be replaced, something it seems the CCP would like to do using teachers from China. Beijing has already announced plans to send Chinese teachers to Hong Kong in order to help train local teachers and to give students a “patriotic education.” This essentially means brainwashing. Though in the future, the city may not actually contain many Hong Kongers as we know them today.
Many parents have begun fleeing on Hong Kong with their children. A large number of university students have also begun to seek refuge and freedom in other countries, including a number coming to Taiwan. Though it seems that they’re trying to stem this as well through exit bans.
Even if they fail in their effort to keep Kongers from fleeing, the CCP will likely not be bothered much. Clamping down on a region that they have annexed, flooding in their own people, and banning the local culture is a common tactic that Beijing uses to impose their will on ‘unruly populations’ (see Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Tibet). China doesn’t want to control Hong Kong, they want to subsume it. In pursuit of this goal, Beijing has also set strict requirements over what teachers may teach in the classroom.
The NSL has also created strict curriculum requirements to ensure children are full to bursting with nationalistic fervor for their new colonizers. This includes teaching children as young as 6 years old about foreign interference and subversion. A reality that is compounded by the fact that under the new draconian law, students won’t even be able to educate themselves or have free discussion about things like democracy. Even if they do hold these “seditious” ideas, then most certainly will not be able to express them, at least not without fear of severe reprisal, essentially turning Hong Kong’s campuses into open-air surveillance centers where children are constantly monitored and punished for their thought crimes. To be fair though, this is not much different from what life is already becoming on the streets of Hong Kong.
Recent arrests of so-called “dissidents” are starting to pile up. These dastardly devils have committed such horrific crimes as singing songs, flying flags., and now even releasing balloons. These sorts of convictions are likely going to continue at ever increasing rates until any ounce of resistance is snuffed out in Hong Kong.
The fight is not over and hopefully resistance from Hong Kongers and the international community can help to reverse these authoritarian moves by Lam and the CCP. Currently though, Hong Kong’s future is so bright you gotta wear night vision goggles.