The Education Bureau has released an amended Chinese history curriculum for junior primary school students, with Hong Kong history no longer being taught as a separate subject.

In the revised curriculum released on Thursday, Hong Kong history will only take up 10 per cent of the subject and – unlike the previous round of proposed amendments – it will be subsumed into Chinese history rather than treated as a separate topic.

Education Bureau released the new curriculum on Thursday. Photo: GovHK.

Controversial events such as the 1967 riots and the Tiananmen Massacre are not found in the materials. These topics were also excluded in the second draft of the curriculum released last year.

Leung Yuen-sang, chair of the committee in charge of revising the curriculum, said: “[We] want to put Hong Kong’s status and HongKongers’ views into the more complete framework of Chinese history,” he said, adding that the suggestion was also made by the majority of frontline teachers during the consultation period.

Leung also said that the Cultural Revolution will be covered in the curriculum, but the committee did not see a need to point specifically to the 1967 riots.

The Education Bureau said that it hopes “the revised curriculum frameworks of the two History subjects will enable students to study Chinese and world history and culture in a holistic and systematic manner and develop a sense of national identity, love for Hong Kong and international perspectives for coping with opportunities and challenges ahead.”

The new changes come after four years of work to implement changes to the world history and Chinese history curricula, which has been in place for more than 20 years. The Education Bureau said the revised framework was generally well received by the education sector.

According to the government, the revised framework “will be implemented progressively in all of these schools, starting from Secondary 1 in September 2020 at the earliest.”

The revised curriculum. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Chen Yan-kai, who is deputy director of the education research department of the Professional Teachers’ Union and also a Chinese history teacher – told RTHK that not including controversial events in the curriculum pushes the responsibility of teaching these topics to textbook publishers and teachers.

Chen added that after the recent incident involving the textbook review group – which criticised phrases such as “China taking back sovereignty“ of Hong Kong – he is worried that there would be self-censorship in textbooks on topics such as the Tiananmen Massacre. Even if textbooks do mention such topics, they may only give the Chinese government’s official stance on them, Chen added.

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.