Hong Kong Protest: “We Don’t Need No (Pro-China) Education!”

“We don’t need no education.”  Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall

On Sunday tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents rallied to protest the new national education curriculum being introduced by the government. Organisers claim 90,000 convened whereas official police calculations claim 19,000 to 32,000 were protesting. Either way this was the largest rally since the 2003 protests against National Security Laws.

Hong Kong parents protest China patriotism lessons

This time education took the centre stage.

This September teachers are supposed to begin teaching a new national education curicullum. This was only introduced earlier this year. You’d suppose people are protesting the rushed changes and the inability of teachers to prepare lessons. Nope – it’s not that. Nor is it the fact that publishers haven’t had a chance to create textbooks to support the new plans.

Instead people are protesting the way China is presented. There are no references to Tinananmen Square. The single party system is promoted as a good form of government (China’s ruling party is “progressive, selfless and united.”). Multiparty systems brought disaster to countries such as the United States. The Sichuan earthquake is covered – but not the hundreds of children killed due to poorly constructed schools.

“We don’t want our next generation to be brainwashed,” said parent Tam Ka-wing in The Hong Kong Standard

“We don’t need no thought control.” Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall

Under the proposal students would take 50 hours of lessons a year focusing on “building national harmony, identity and unity among individuals,” according to the government. This is supposed to combat growing anti-Beijing sentiment 15 years after the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China.

And while Prince Charles and Governor Chris Patten sailed the HMY Brittania out of Hong Kong, the parallels to “Another Brick in the Wall” are strong:

“Daddy’s flown across the ocean
Leaving just a memory
Snapshot in the family album
Daddy what else did you leave for me?
Daddy, what’d’ja leave behind for me?!?”

The pr0test was so large it took between 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm for all to march the few kilometres from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to the LegCo Building in Admiralty – two stops by MTR. In total four lanes of traffic were closed for protesters. All this despite the sweltering 34 degree Celsius heat (93.2 Fahrenheit).

Wong So is well past school age. At 78 he may not spend a lot of time in the classroom. Yet he came out for the protest for with a strong reason for participating:

“I’m afraid freedom of speech and other freedoms will soon be eroded,” said Wong So in The Hong Kong Standard.

“No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teachers leave them kids alone. Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!” Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall

It appears the government is not backing down. Ministers in charge responded to the march by saying a committee will be formed to oversee the introduction of the new curriculum. It wasn’t a stirring or action-laden response to tens of thousands of protesters. Instead, it seemed to galvanise opinion further. Wong Hak-lim, vice president of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, said it would shun the committee and use whatever means it has to see national education shelved.

“All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.”
Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall

“All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.”

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