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.
SKorean authorities deported 8 Indonesian migrant workers in last month after becoming alarmed over social media activities
Police say they've killed the operations head of a major militant group in the Indian portion of Kashmir in an overnight gunbattle.
'Big nations should not bully smaller ones, disputes should be resolved peacefully,' US president says
Singapore ordered BSI SA’s unit in the city-state to shut down as Swiss authorities began criminal proceedings against the bank
New Dehli announced an indefinite travel ban for Indians going to Libya
Jens Stoltenberg says Mansoor hindered Afghan peace, reconciliation, but stops short of approving US airstrike on Taliban leader
'From Tehran, New Delhi and Kabul, this is a crucial message ... that the path to progress for regional countries goes through joint cooperation and utilising regional opportunities,' Iranian president says
A report on family sizes among Indian communities shows that the largest decline in family members is within the Muslim community
Three policemen have been killed by suspected rebels in Indian-occupied Kashmir
The amendments include eliminating the term limit for Emomali Rahmon and lowering the age of eligibility to become president from 35 to 30 as well as a ban on forming parties based on religion
Outgoing govt's chief negotiator warns further delay in peace process would work against stability of next administration
According to Pakistani Foreign Office's statement US strike has violated country's sovereignty
Man reported to have been killed in self defense as police tried to round up around 21 escapees from detention center
Children of hill tribes in northern Thailand unable to escape flames as they slept in the school dormitory.
'Mansour was being closely monitored for a while... until he was targeted along with other fighters aboard a vehicle,' Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security says
US Secretary of State says 'Mansour posed... an imminent threat to US personnel, Afghan civilians and Afghan security forces' as well as peace process