In yet more significant fallout and far-reaching impact from the so-called Hong Kong national security law imposed by Beijing in June of last year, HK authorities in concert with China have unveiled sweeping new 'national security rules' for schools.
Schools have been ordered to adopt the curriculum which instills "an affection for the Chinese people" and while at the same time weeding out potentially disloyal teachers. "As far as national security is concerned, there is no room for debate or compromise," the new security directive for schools reads ominously.
The measures were announced late Thursday and as Bloomberg details, "will require primary and secondary school students to memorize the law’s offenses, which include subversion, secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers."
And further, "Authorities are also looking to incorporate national security education into all subjects, from geography to biology, the government said in a statement."
While it remains unclear (and highly dystopian) just how it is that "national security education" will be incorporated into something like science and biology, Beijing has long suspected Hong Kong's youth of being the main problem behind recent unrest. The mainland further blamed a "foreign hand" to the rolling protests and unrest of recent years.
China's Education Bureau was cited as saying the following:
The fundamentals of national security education are to develop in students a sense of belonging to the country, an affection for the Chinese people, a sense of national identity, as well as an awareness of and a sense of responsibility for safeguarding national security.
As far as prevention and education are concerned, schools have a significant role to play.
The rolling and increasingly aggressive protests which saw entire districts of Hong Kong grind to a halt in 2019 into the early part of 2020 were largely driven by young people, in particular college and no doubt high school students as well. There were a number of instances of students ditching school en masse in order to join the anti-mainland protest movement.
2/ Schools must inform the police and parents of incidents involving "political propaganda" - including students chanting slogans, posting material with political messages and asking or coercing other children to follow their political stance.— Tom Grundy (@tomgrundy) February 5, 2021
Also alarming is that it appears to set up a 'loyalty litmus test' of sorts for teachers and staff, which will also no doubt induce 'informants' to turn-in fellow faculty. Thursday's Education Bureau statement further urged school staff to "step up the prevention and suppression” of teaching that's considered in breach of the security law while helping students to "gain a correct understanding" of the legislation.
Thus HK schools have now effectively and seemingly overnight been transformed into 'reeducation' programs of pro-mainland propaganda. This is precisely what many students feared as in recent years China sought to emphasize "patriotic education" in Hong Kong schools, which met with fierce resistance.
The question remains whether this will serve to trigger new waves of unrest, or if China has already effectively gained enough control to stifle even the beginnings of a fresh street uprising.