hong kong schools ordered to display chinese flag and sing national anthem in latest squeeze on independence - Hong Kong schools ordered to display Chinese flag and sing national anthem in latest squeeze on independence
hong kong schools ordered to display chinese flag and sing national anthem in latest squeeze on independence 2 - Hong Kong schools ordered to display Chinese flag and sing national anthem in latest squeeze on independence

Hong Kong’s Education Bureau has ordered all primary and secondary schools in the semi-autonomous Chinese city to display the mainland’s flag and sing its national anthem at special occasions.

The guidelines enforce the new National Anthem Ordinance bill, which came into effect on 12 June and urges respect for the song – “March of the Volunteers” – imposing a HKD50,000 (£5,224) fine or three-year prison sentence on anyone who misuses it for commercial purposes or otherwise insults it.

Schools are now “strongly advised” to sing the anthem on “important and special occasions” like open days, graduation ceremonies, sports days and swimming galas, as well as on New Year’s Day, the anniversary of the city’s 1997 handover from Britain to China on 1 July and on National Day on 1 October.

They are also being encouraged to investigate accusations of disrespect against pupils and teachers and inform police if the case warrants it, according to The South China Morning Post.

The bill in question passed Hong Kong’s legislature by a vote of 41-1, despite having been initially met with dismay when it was first drafted in 2019.

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An anti-extradition bill protester is detained by riot police during skirmishes between the police and protesters outside Mong Kok police station, 2 September, 2019

Photos by Reuters

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Police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at anti-extradition bill protesters during clashes in the Sham Shui Po district of Hong Kong, 14 August, 2019

Reuters

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A pro-China demonstrator films herself as an anti-government protester holds up a sign on her phone during skirmishes between the two opposing groups at Yuen Long station in Hong Kong, China, 12 September, 2019. The words on the phone read, “Seek an official reassessment of the June 4 crackdown,” referring to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests

Reuters

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A man sprays paint over the Regional Emblem of Hong Kong after anti-extradition bill protesters stormed the Legislative Council Complex on the 22nd anniversary of the handover from British to Chinese rule, destroying pictures and daubing walls with graffiti on 1 July, 2019

Reuters

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An anti-government protester, who later identified himself as a university student, is chased by riot policemen after skirmishes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on 12 November, 2019

Reuters

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Hundreds of thousands protesters march through the streets of Hong Kong, demanding for it’s leaders to step down and withdraw the proposed extradition bill on 16 June, 2019

Reuters

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A masked anti-government protester, wielding a hammer, attacks a man who bystanders suspected of being a pro-Beijing activist from mainland China, during a protest in the Mong Kok area in Hong Kong on 11 November, 2019. The bloodied man, who suffered major facial and head trauma, was reported to have survived his injuries by local media

Reuters

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Passengers push their luggage past bricks and barriers after anti-government protesters blocked the roads leading to Hong Kong International Airport on 1 September, 2019

Reuters

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Mall security personnel urges caution as he tries to extinguish a burning Christmas tree at the Festival Walk mall in Kowloon Tong on 12 November, 2019. The property suffered damage after anti-government protesters stormed the shopping centre

Reuters

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A woman looks out from the window of a residence as tens of thousands of demonstrators march through Hong Kong on 20 October, 2019, demanding autonomy and for its leaders to step down weeks after the formal withdrawal of an extradition bill

Reuters

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Hundreds of anti-government protesters gather after climbing to the peak of Lion Rock as a lighted sign is held high in the air, in Hong Kong on 13 September, 2019

Reuters

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A child sits in carrier wearing a mask as anti-government protesters hold hands to form a human chain in a sign of solidarity in Kowloon Bay on 30 November, 2019

Reuters

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Anti-government protesters are detained during skirmishes between the police and protesters in Admiralty district, Hong Kong on 29 September, 2019

Reuters

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Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam pauses while holding a news conference in Hong Kong on 27 August, 2019. On September 4, Lam announced the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill

Reuters

15/20

Anti-extradition bill protesters use slingshots to hurl bricks as they clash with riot police during a demonstration to demand democracy and political reforms, in the market town of Tsuen Wan, located in Hong Kong on 25 August, 2019

Reuters

16/20

Customers cautiously exit an eyeglass store past a burning molotov cocktail as demonstrators clash with riot policemen during a march billed as a global “emergency call” for autonomy, in Hong Kong on 2 November, 2019

Reuters

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Demonstrators protesting the proposed extradition bill aim their flashlights towards riot police as they are chased through the streets of Hong Kong on 25 August, 2019

Reuters

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A restaurant worker receives help from volunteers as patrons cover their faces after riot police fired tear gas nearby to disperse anti-government protesters taking part in a march billed as a global “emergency call” for autonomy, in Hong Kong on 2 November, 2019

Reuters

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Anti-government protesters stand in a cloud of tear gas unleashed during a stand off with riot police at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong on 12 November, 2019

Reuters

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A man clears debris following the clashes between police and anti-government protester after a two week campus siege of the Polytechnic University in Hong Kong on 16 November, 2019

Reuters

1/20

An anti-extradition bill protester is detained by riot police during skirmishes between the police and protesters outside Mong Kok police station, 2 September, 2019

Photos by Reuters

2/20

Police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at anti-extradition bill protesters during clashes in the Sham Shui Po district of Hong Kong, 14 August, 2019

Reuters

3/20

A pro-China demonstrator films herself as an anti-government protester holds up a sign on her phone during skirmishes between the two opposing groups at Yuen Long station in Hong Kong, China, 12 September, 2019. The words on the phone read, “Seek an official reassessment of the June 4 crackdown,” referring to the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests

Reuters

4/20

A man sprays paint over the Regional Emblem of Hong Kong after anti-extradition bill protesters stormed the Legislative Council Complex on the 22nd anniversary of the handover from British to Chinese rule, destroying pictures and daubing walls with graffiti on 1 July, 2019

Reuters

5/20

An anti-government protester, who later identified himself as a university student, is chased by riot policemen after skirmishes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on 12 November, 2019

Reuters

6/20

Hundreds of thousands protesters march through the streets of Hong Kong, demanding for it’s leaders to step down and withdraw the proposed extradition bill on 16 June, 2019

Reuters

7/20

A masked anti-government protester, wielding a hammer, attacks a man who bystanders suspected of being a pro-Beijing activist from mainland China, during a protest in the Mong Kok area in Hong Kong on 11 November, 2019. The bloodied man, who suffered major facial and head trauma, was reported to have survived his injuries by local media

Reuters

8/20

Passengers push their luggage past bricks and barriers after anti-government protesters blocked the roads leading to Hong Kong International Airport on 1 September, 2019

Reuters

9/20

Mall security personnel urges caution as he tries to extinguish a burning Christmas tree at the Festival Walk mall in Kowloon Tong on 12 November, 2019. The property suffered damage after anti-government protesters stormed the shopping centre

Reuters

10/20

A woman looks out from the window of a residence as tens of thousands of demonstrators march through Hong Kong on 20 October, 2019, demanding autonomy and for its leaders to step down weeks after the formal withdrawal of an extradition bill

Reuters

11/20

Hundreds of anti-government protesters gather after climbing to the peak of Lion Rock as a lighted sign is held high in the air, in Hong Kong on 13 September, 2019

Reuters

12/20

A child sits in carrier wearing a mask as anti-government protesters hold hands to form a human chain in a sign of solidarity in Kowloon Bay on 30 November, 2019

Reuters

13/20

Anti-government protesters are detained during skirmishes between the police and protesters in Admiralty district, Hong Kong on 29 September, 2019

Reuters

14/20

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam pauses while holding a news conference in Hong Kong on 27 August, 2019. On September 4, Lam announced the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill

Reuters

15/20

Anti-extradition bill protesters use slingshots to hurl bricks as they clash with riot police during a demonstration to demand democracy and political reforms, in the market town of Tsuen Wan, located in Hong Kong on 25 August, 2019

Reuters

16/20

Customers cautiously exit an eyeglass store past a burning molotov cocktail as demonstrators clash with riot policemen during a march billed as a global “emergency call” for autonomy, in Hong Kong on 2 November, 2019

Reuters

17/20

Demonstrators protesting the proposed extradition bill aim their flashlights towards riot police as they are chased through the streets of Hong Kong on 25 August, 2019

Reuters

18/20

A restaurant worker receives help from volunteers as patrons cover their faces after riot police fired tear gas nearby to disperse anti-government protesters taking part in a march billed as a global “emergency call” for autonomy, in Hong Kong on 2 November, 2019

Reuters

19/20

Anti-government protesters stand in a cloud of tear gas unleashed during a stand off with riot police at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong on 12 November, 2019

Reuters

20/20

A man clears debris following the clashes between police and anti-government protester after a two week campus siege of the Polytechnic University in Hong Kong on 16 November, 2019

Reuters

It is being introduced now as “part of moral, civic, and national education, and helps enhance students’ sense of national identity,” said a departmental spokesperson in a statement, suggesting it was important for children to understand the “spirit” of the flag and anthem.

But Rachel Tong Chung-yee, a spokeswoman for Parents United, told The Morning Post some parents are concerned about the lack of definition as to what constitutes an “insult” in the guidelines, fearing alleged violations could be used as a pretext through which to punish children arbitrarily.

“Parents feel like it is kind of a white terror when the Education Bureau spells out advice to schools, saying they may ask for help from police… Even if children get into a fight, police may not be involved,” she said.

Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong remain concerned about increasing Chinese encroachment on the city’s freedoms, which has officially operated under a “one country, two systems” form of governance since returning from British imperial rule.

Joshua Wong tweeted recently that the imposition of authoritarian legislation by Beijing amounted to “retaliation” for months of dissent, unrest and violent clashes between independence demonstrators and law enforcement.

A controversial new national security law for Hong Kong drafted by China and giving it overarching jurisdiction over the city threatens to further erode its autonomy.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, Hong Kong is preparing to establish a local national security council to enforce the legislation, fronted by the city’s leader Carrie Lam and supervised and guided by a new central government commission created by Beijing, with a mainland adviser also sitting on the body.

New local police and prosecution units will be set up to investigate and to enforce the law, backed by mainland security and intelligence officers deployed to Beijing’s new commission.

China sees Hong Kong as a growing threat to its own national security and says the draft law is aimed at tackling separatist activity, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces but critics fear it will crush the wide-ranging freedoms seen as critical to Hong Kong’s status as a global financial centre.

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