World Bulletin/News Desk
The Hong Kong government said on Saturday schools did not have to adopt a China-backed curriculum from 2015 in an apparent backdown following protests by tens of thousands of people who described it as an attempt to brainwash students.
Parents, teachers and students have staged a week-long protest, claiming the curriculum amounts to Communist Party propaganda that glosses over the darker aspects of Chinese rule.
The decision comes on the eve of elections in Hong Kong, a former British territory handed back to China in 1997, that will see a legislature expanded from 60 to 70 seats, with just over half of them to be directly elected.
Hong Kong's embattled new leader Leung Chun-ying called the move on the education plan a "major policy amendment", saying he had heard and understood the public's criticism.
The government noted the scheme had not been withdrawn and that schools could introduce it as they saw fit.
"We don't want the recent controversy to affect the operations of schools, nor do we want to see the harmony of the education environment to be affected (by the scheme)," said Leung.
The Beijing-backed Hong Kong leader has drawn criticism over a series of issues since he took office on July 1, including the national education programme, sky-high property prices and concerns about an influx of mainland Chinese visitors to the former British colony.
Al-Qaeda linked group fleeing intensified government military operations following sighting of elusive leader
Infrastructure of Haqqani network, which included improvised explosive device factories, a number of other capacities including communication, has been disrupted
Government denies the bill is aimed at Muslims, estimated to make up about 5 percent of the population
German foreign minister calls for Pakistan and Afghanistan to work together in battling militants
Police are hunting for a 26-year-old Thai woman and a foreign man in his 40s after a weekend search on a property in the Min Buri district
Two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the efforts of the international community in the fight against international terrorism
Former Taliban leader's death was kept limited to very few colleagues who were already informed
Pakistan official says Taliban unlikely to return to negotiations while leadership struggle continues
More than 200 fighters killed in battle to retake strategic southern town
Electoral reform group that organized weekend rally hopes Sunday attendance will match protest’s alleged peak of 200,000 people
Modi says he will amend the bill to favour farmers so that they do not face financial losses
Police believe detained suspect had several accomplices preparing the attack
The Pakistani defence minister has said that Pakistan will respond if India continues to target civilians. 13 people were killed on Friday after Indian forces opened gunfire across the border on Friday.
Protesters have blocked off the central square with estimates of up to 200,000 people gathering to protest against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Police raided an apartment used by the man in northern Bangkok on Saturday and discovered possible bomb-making materials, according to a police spokesman
More than an estimated 40,000 gather in Kuala Lumpur for two-day rally to demand resignation of Najib Razak over corruption scandal.