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Born and raised in Hong Kong, Catherine (pseudonym) is a mother of two. The ongoing turmoil in Hong Kong has got her increasingly concerned over her children's education. |
"There are a lot of rumors in my young kid's WhatsApp group. Some say the FBI came to liberate Hong Kong. Some even say they want to kill Carrie Lam. Though I think these are mainly jokes, I'm still worried. So, now I watch my kids very closely these days," she said.
As tensions in Hong Kong continue to escalate, protesters are becoming more violent. Students are not exempt either. Some parents fear their kids might be brainwashed by teachers who act unprofessionally in classes and use textbooks to incite frustration and despair toward China.
Catherine (pseudonym), a Hong Kong native and mother of two, has become increasingly concerned over her children's education amid the ongoing protests. /CGTN photo
"Especially in recent years, the politicization of Hong Kong's education is increasingly severe. Politics have penetrated schools and classrooms. It prompts lots of teachers to act unprofessionally in classes," said Catherine.
In recent protests, more and more anti-government protesters are increasingly luring children and teenagers to hit the streets with them.
And there is a big campaign of boycotting classes underway in Hong Kong's secondary schools.
Catherine's son Brian (pseudonym) is 12 years old. He used to study in an international school. Now he is in a local secondary school. When talking about his identity, he said he considers himself Chinese.
"Number one, Hong Kong is part of China and also a lot of us come from Chinese families, didn't we. So, I figure I must have some Chinese blood in me at least. So, this is why I consider myself Chinese," said Brian in fluent English.
However, Brian said he doesn't like learning about Chinese history.
"They're basically fighting against its own people. Why would I be proud of something like that?"
Brian (pseudonym) is pictured playing video games. /CGTN photo
When he was asked if the textbook told him something great about China, the 12-year-old boy confessed, "I actually can't read the textbook. I can't read Chinese. This is my little secret. It's very hard for me to read Chinese."
Catherine says even international schools in Hong Kong teach children to love their own countries, but now in many local schools, patriotism is gone.
"When I was a kid, my teachers taught us to love our country, to love China. But now, since the situation in Hong Kong is so chaotic, I see lots of teachers, media and other organizations inciting frustration and desperation towards China and Hong Kong instead of teaching love. I think this is the biggest problem," said Catherine.
Liberal Studies is one of four core compulsory subjects in Hong Kong's Secondary Education system. It is meant to enhance students' critical thinking abilities.
However, Catherine said some textbooks contain biased depictions of China. She showed CGTN a picture of one of Hong Kong's Liberal Studies textbooks. In the cartoon, it tells students that all street food in China is unsafe because China uses extra antibiotics in its poultry industry, and it will cause incurable diseases.
A page of the textbook Catherine showed that depicted bias toward the Chinese mainland. /CGTN photo
"I think most parents' concerns are over the teachers being biased. If the learning materials provided by teachers are saying all the bad things about China from different aspects, then students will memorize these points to get good scores in exams. This is what I call brainwashing," said the mother.
Catherine says if this situation gets worse, she will send her kids to school outside of Hong Kong.
"If this continues, it will affect my kids a lot, and I won't let them study in Hong Kong anymore because it will obstruct their healthy future development," she said.
Catherine said she hopes Hong Kong can return to its normal path for the sake of its own people and her family.