Hong Kong’s education policies will increase young people’s recognition towards the country and ensure that the spirit of “loving the country and loving Hong Kong” will be passed down, China liaison office director Wang Zhimin has said.

Lam’s first policy address delivered last Wednesday stated that Chinese history would become an independent subject in the next school year. In an interview in Beijing on Thursday, Wang said that the Hong Kong government had worked hard to push for “patriotic” education, and the Education Bureau had asked secondary schools to bolster education on the Basic Law.

This showed that despite the turbulence in recent years, Hong Kong society had a more comprehensive, more accurate and deeper understanding of the “One Country, Two Systems” relationship, he said.

The ruling glasses: Carrie Lam and Wang Zhimin. File Photo: GovHK.

Wang also said that the 19th congress work report had stressed the importance of patriotic individuals as the core of “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong” so as to boost the power of patriotism. He added that the report mentioned Hong Kong five times, which fully demonstrated the importance that Chinese President Xi Jinping attaches to Hong Kong.

Wang stressed that all Chinese people, which included HongKongers, had “zero tolerance, zero room” for the “illegal” and “impossible” independence movement. He said that defending the country’s sovereignty, safety and development interests was the basis for Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.

Kevin Yeung. File Photo: GovHK.

Education Bureau chief Kevin Yeung also said on Thursday that Chinese history has been compulsory for junior secondary school students since 2000, and the only change was making it an independent subject.

Around 10 per cent of schools have combined Chinese history and World history into one subject, or incorporated Chinese history into the humanities subject.

“With this plan, we temporarily give schools some flexibility to give them time to study how to improve their Chinese history curricula. Of course, while we permit these flexibilities, we hope that the syllabus will be able to give students a chance to gain a more comprehensive understanding of Chinese history.”

Yeung previously said it was necessary for young people in the city to learn about the relationship between Hong Kong and China, “because Hong Kong is a part of China, and we are Chinese people in Hong Kong.”

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.