World Bulletin / News Desk
More than 1,000 Hong Kong university students boycotted class on Tuesday, demanding the withdrawal of a patriotic Chinese curriculum they say amounts to Communist Party brainwashing.
Hong Kong, returned to Chinese rule in 1997, is a freewheeling capitalist hub which enjoys a high degree of autonomy and freedom, but Beijing's Communist leaders have resisted public pressure for full democracy.
The protest came just three days after Beijing-backed leader Leung Chun-ying backed down on a plan to make the curriculum compulsory after tens of thousands of people took to the streets claiming it amounted to mainland propaganda that glosses over the darker aspects of Chinese rule.
The curriculum will be voluntary, not compulsory, but that was not enough for the striking students.
Dressed in black and huddled under a sea of umbrellas to shield them from the blazing sun, they staged a four-hour rally on the grounds of Chinese University in the New Territories.
"It makes no difference. Some schools depend on government support so they may feel pressure if they don't impose national education," said Winky Wong, a student at City University of Hong Kong. "It's all excuses. We don't believe in government excuses."
Kenneth Chan, associate professor of government and international studies at Baptist University, said children should study Chinese history if they wanted to understand the country better.
"There's no need to have a separate national education," he said. "This move came to us as a political assignment imposed by above (Beijing)."
Leung, speaking ahead of the university protest, urged students to think about what their demands amounted to.
"If the government withdraws it, that would be tantamount to forbidding schools that want to teach this course from doing so," he said. "I believe this way of doing things is inappropriate for Hong Kong which is a society that values freedom and diversity."
The city of 7 million voted for a new legislature on Sunday, a day after Leung backed down on the education scheme. He emerged the big winner as pro-democracy groups failed to capitalise on the recent protests against China-linked policies.
An NGO's report warns that destruction of confidence in state, legal and justice systems could lure people into joining ‘struggle for independence’ in troubled region
An apex style committee will be launched to help execute the CPEC
Several rights organizations have issued a joint statement urging to lift unlawful restrictions on rights activist Uktam Pardaev
Thirteen executives of Islamic Renaissance Party have been detained for organizing armed attack on security forces
Two people have been killed in when a plane crashed in a suburban area of Java
According to the International Labor Organization there are still around 3.2 million child labors in Bangladesh
'Indonesians who departed for Syria and supported ISIL should be considered to have conducted terrorism acts,' a judge says
Cambodia has millions of unexploded bombs, however young children are unaware of the danger of the objects.
Move comes as Kabul government gears up to enter peace talks with Taliban
Human rights lawyer says smuggling networks saw opportunity to profit from those fleeing Syrian conflict, with illegal entries believed to match 40-percent increase in legal entries
Pyongyang claims to have successfully launched satellite into orbit
Four-nation talks aimed at ending Afghanistan's 15-year war has been concluded with a call for direct talks between the government and the Taliban by the end of February.
A suicide bomber riding on a bicycle targeted a vehicle carrying security forces in southwestern Pakistan on Saturday, killing 8.
Of fatalities, 5 were inside 16-story building among those collapsed after magnitude 6.4 tremor strikes south Tainan city
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has in Sri Lanka on Saturday morning, on a four-day official visit.
Satellite images taken this week of North Korea's Sohae rocket launch site show apparent fueling activity seen in the past shortly before a rocket launch