Hong Kong Scraps Pro-China 'Brainwashing' Class

Protesters oppose new education plan
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2012 1:47 PM CDT
Convener of the students group "Scholarism" Joshua Wong, center, with other members, speaks to tens of thousands protesters outside government headquarters in Hong Kong, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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(Newser) – Looks like pro-China "indoctrination" classes have been canceled. After thousands protested in Hong Kong yesterday over a plan to make students learn Chinese patriotism, officials on the semi-independent island scrapped the idea, the Washington Post reports. Many worried that Beijing wanted Hong Kong students to support China's Communist Party—although Hong Kong officials denied any such connection.

Officially, the classes would have taught students about China's political leaders—but also how to "speak cautiously" and get along respectfully with others. Public anger against the plan had risen for months and peaked yesterday with 120,000 protesters in front of Hong Kong's government headquarters, activists say (police counted only 36,000). A little back story: China took back Hong Kong from the British 15 years ago, but the island city has kept its own legal system and civil liberties—like freedom of speech—that are not observed on the mainland. (Read more Hong Kong stories.)

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