Protestors cross their arms during a protest yesterday (Photo courtesy of Kung Kao Po)
The Hong Kong Federation of Students called for a student strike at all eight colleges and universities to begin next Tuesday, in protest against the government’s introduction of a new national education course.
The Moral and National Education curriculum, which replaces the existing Moral and Civic Education module, has been proposed for primary schools this year and secondary schools by next year. The course has been criticized as overly nationalistic.
Student group Scholarism called the class “brainwashing” and said it praises the good side of China without raising negatives.
Scholarism members began an indefinite hunger strike in front of government headquarters on August 30, before the new school year began, and 15 protesters are still continuing that effort. At least 10,000 students, parents, educators and supporters come to encourage the hunger strikers every day. Around 40,000 came on Saturday.
The upcoming student strike is expected to be part of an escalation in protests.
The issue is not simply about educational policy but about what Hong Kong will become in the future, said Samuel Li Shing-hong, secretary general of the students’ federation.
“We college students are duty bound to take the lead,” he said.
The strike will mark the first time since Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997 that college students will go on strike together.
Representatives from all the universities have said they will respect the students’ decision to strike.
Only eight among 971 elementary and high schools will introduce the subject this academic year.
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