Hong Kong pupils ‘have poor knowledge’ of modern Chinese history … and some think Mao is a woman

Su Xinqi:

The findings were part of a report on DSE performance released on Tuesday by the Examinations and Assessment Authority.

Last week, officials announced the decision to make Chinese history an independent and compulsory subject for pupils from Form One to Form Three in 2018. For pupils from Form Four to Form Six, Chinese history has been an independent elective subject since 2009.

In April this year, 6,090 pupils – or about 10 per cent of all candidates – sat for the DSE Chinese history test, which includes ancient history and contemporary history. Some 89.6 per cent were graded level two or above, achieving the minimum mark for university admission.

But examiners said they found some answers by pupils in the compulsory part of the test to be “incomprehensible”, when candidates were asked to identify a woman depicted in a modern poem. Among the names given in answers were Mao Zedong, his right-hand man Liu Shaoqi and Lin Biao, once considered as Mao’s successor.