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.
Nepal PM resigns after key coalition partner withdraws following almost a year of political tension
Authorities say 34 Indonesian illegal immigrants rescued off southern Johor state, rescue operations ongoing
Well-known political analyst Kem Ley shot dead while drinking his morning coffee at convenience store in capital
Media and watchdog groups had been demanding the reform, the first national freedom of information order, for years.
Fears that targeting of Shia Hazara community could worsen sectarian violence in Afghanistan
A double suicide attack has killed at least 80 people with ISIL claiming responsibility for the attack
2 explosions rip through 1,000-people protest against power line plan in Kabul, Afghanistan
Rodrigo Duterte says will push for law pursued by one-time largest Muslim rebel group, minus ‘unconstitutional’ provisions
Indian forces have shot at numerous protestors with more than 3000 people injured after violence flared after the killing of 18 year old Burhan Wari
Rally is latest in string of demonstrations held across Pakistan since July 15 coup attempt to hail resolve and commitment of Turkish people
The shrine, a popular stop for East Asian tourists, was thronged with worshippers at the time of the accident.
Top business leader decries ex-president's release, calling it setback to Philippines' fight against graft, corruption
Statement from tripartite meeting underlines aspirations to locate flight missing since March 8, 2014 not abandoned
Pakistani PM Sharif's PML has won 32 out of total 41 seats
In first trip as military commander-in-chief, Rodrigo Duterte talks of ways to address 'historical wrongs' done to Muslims
Resurrects feud over plans to relocate US air base within prefecture hosting most of US military establishment in Japan