Hong Kong school students as young as three have been handed national security-themed puzzles as part of activities to mark the city’s “celebrations” of a new legal code widely condemned by the international community.
In a much broader list of events for the city’s National Security Education day, schools received educational materials on how to “defend national security, safeguard our homeland.”
Kindergarten children were reportedly given national security-themed puzzles, while other youth he participated in poster and slogan design contests or smiling photos were taken to create “community mosaics” of national security, marking the new national security law passed last year that has led to the crackdown on political dissent.
Most schools were also expected to hold flag-raising ceremonies, sing the Chinese national anthem, and explain the significance of the day at morning assemblies. Teachers were also free to introduce the topics of “territorial security, economic security, ecological security, cybersecurity and cultural security through related topics,” the education department said.
“The concepts of national security law are really difficult to teach kindergarten children. That is why we hope to educate them at a young age about positive values, so that they can distinguish between black and white when they are older, ”said the head of the kindergarten and a member of the Federation of Beijing Education Workers. , Nancy Lam, Chui-ling told the South China Morning Post.
The Financial Times reported that police also held open houses to watch counter-terrorism drills or test virtual reality experiences.
The annual event expanded from the usual speeches and symposia to “educate” young people about the new national security law, imposed by Beijing last year to prohibit various acts such as secession, sedition, foreign collusion and terrorism. Article 10 of the law required the Hong Kong government to “promote national security education in schools and universities.”
It was promoted with full-page ads on the front page of every newspaper on Thursday, with the exception of the pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily, whose founder Jimmy Lai is in jail awaiting trial on national security charges and sentencing for other related protests. . offenses.
The national security law has been widely criticized for being too broad and draconian, developed and used against the pro-democracy movement, including for mass arrests of opposition figures.
In February, Hong Kong schools were ordered to update the curriculum with a greater focus on national security, warning teachers that there was “no room for debate or compromise” when it came to the issue. The new curriculum included an animated cartoon of animals explaining the law, apparently aimed at young children but with technical and legal terms.
Schools also received new requirements to prevent student and staff involvement in political activities, increase control of employees and instructional materials, remove books and brochures deemed to endanger national security, and report cases to authorities if necessary.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism