World China rewrites history of Hong Kong with textbooks that deny British rule

tom_mai78101

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Hong Kong schools will teach children that the city was never a British colony, after state textbooks for a course originally designed to teach critical thinking were revised to reflect Beijing’s version of the city’s history.

All references have been scrubbed from new teaching materials for the rejigged citizenship and social development subject on the basis that China never recognised the 19th-century “unequal treaties” that ceded control of the territory, according to the South China Morning Post.

The textbooks instead refer to an obscure 1972 UN resolution that removed Hong Kong and Macau from the body’s list of non-self-governing territories at China’s demand.

Britain took Hong Kong Island during the First Opium War and in 1898 signed a treaty that gave it control over the wider area for 99 years.

That agreement ended on July 1, 1997, an anniversary that is marked annually in the city and this year may be attended by Xi Jinping, the Chinese president. He has been overseeing a crackdown on basic freedoms in the city and broad censorship of any dissent.

The textbooks also parrot Beijing’s justification for the sweeping National Security Law imposed in 2020, which criminalised almost any criticism of the Chinese state following mass pro-democracy protests in 2019.

The legislation banning sedition, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign governments was necessary to counter unrest, according to the new material.

One textbook mentions “national security” more than 400 times over its 121 pages, saying the legislation was imposed out of “urgency” to prevent serious violence.

 
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