A pro-democracy party in Hong Kong has hit out at newly published school textbooks backed by the Chinese government as “biased,” and aimed at “brainwashing” students.
The books and teaching materials published by Educational Publishing, which is wholly controlled by Beijing’s Central Liaison Office in the city, contain a biased account of the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy Central movement, according to activists who led the movement.
The account of the 79-day civil disobedience movement for fully democratic elections offers only quotes from four opponents and relegates movement co-founder and Hong Kong University law professor Benny Tai to the status of “supporter.”
The group said that even textbooks not published by the company had begun using terminology that is approved by the ruling Chinese Communist Party to describe the histories of Hong Kong and China.
According to Demosisto committee member Isaac Cheng, a history textbook published by Marshall Cavendish describes Hong Kong as being “occupied” during British colonial rule.
He said the 1919 student-led May 4th movement protesting against the Chinese government’s weak response to the Treaty of Versailles that handed territory in the eastern province of Shandong to Japan had been misrepresented.
“For example, there is a sentence added in at the end which describes the May 4th movement as a patriotic movement close to Chinese people’s hearts, but makes no mention of the emphasis in the May 4th movement on fighting for democracy and westernization,” Cheng told RFA.