The Hong Kong Catholic diocese has asked its schools to enhance students’ awareness of new security legislation, the anthem law and cultivate “correct values” on national identity.

In a letter to principals and supervisors of Catholic primary and secondary schools, the diocese episcopal delegate for education Peter Lau also urged them to guard against campus politicisation.

catholic diocese national security law
Letter from the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong to schools. Photo: Internet.

“[School authorities should] enhance students’ awareness to national security and [the importance of] abidance to the law, have them learn and respect the national flag, the national emblem and the national anthem and foster the correct values on their national identity, consistent with the Catholic teaching,” it read.

Beijing’s rubber-stamp parliament in June imposed controversial security legislation criminalising subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers in Hong Kong, following months of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests.

Article 10 of the law stipulates the Hong Kong SAR shall promote national security education in schools and universities. Article 9 also states the government shall take necessary measures to strengthen public communication, guidance, supervision and regulation in matters concerning national security, including in schools and universities.

The letter laid down guidelines for the schools: “Ensure schools are communities led by professional educators and are based on the values of righteousness, the pursuit of truth, benevolence and peace in all circumstances,” it told school authorities.

“Policies and regulations within schools should prevent campuses from politicisation and should bar people from using premises for the unilateral promotion of political messages, positions or views.”

cathedral of hong kong
The Cathedral of Hong Kong. Photo: Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong.

It added schools should be wary of political events on campus and should require organisers to seek permission beforehand.

“Ensure teachers stringently, rationally, objectively and impartially handle teaching materials in accordance with the principles and objectives of the syllabus, students’ abilities and needs, in a professional matter, and nurture positive values in students.”

“School management shall set up a regular mechanism to effectively monitor the handling of teaching materials, assignments, examination papers and books chosen by teaching staff and instructors.”

Rachel Wong previously worked as a documentary producer and academic researcher. She has a BA in Comparative Literature and European Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She has contributed to A City Made by People and The Funambulist, and has an interest in cultural journalism and gender issues.