For many, brainwashing is connotated more with Hollywood spy movies than children’s education. Try telling that to Hong Kong students and their parents.On Sunday, 90,00 people (Hong Kong police say it was only 32,000), some of them pushing their children in strollers, took to the streets amid blazing heat to protest new school textbooks, composed and distributed by China, they claim are attempts at brainwashing their children in favour of China, reports Al-Jazeera.
The main book in question, “The China Model”, is said to characterise China’s one-party system as “progressive, selfless, and unified”, reports the NY Times. It is also said to criticise multi-party systems as being disastrous and makes no mention of the Tiananmen Square massacre. It will become part of a mandatory curriculum in public schools in 2016.
As if the citizens weren’t already enraged and fearful enough, one senior education official’s comments did little to help. In the local news media, Jiang Yudui of the pro-Beijing China Civic Education Promotion Association of Hong Kong was reported as saying “A brain needs washing if there is a problem, just as clothes need washing if they’re dirty, and a kidney needs washing if it’s sick”, according to CNN.
While unique in subject, protests are becoming more common and popular in Hong Kong as citizens become increasingly frustrated with the mainland’s actions and treatment of a territory China gained control of from Britain 15 years ago.
On June 4th, the date marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, 40,000 citizens turned out to protest. Just a month later, on July 1st, 400,000 took to the streets to oppose the appointment of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, chosen by an electoral college of 1,200 selected individuals whom are approved beforehand by Beijing.
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