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Hong Kong backs down on Chinese patriotism lessons

Published on Sep 8, 2012 7:42 PM
 
A student with black dots on his face gestures to say "no" outside the government's headquarters in Hong Kong on Sept 7, 2012 during a protest against plans to introduce Chinese patriotism classes. -- PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) - Hong Kong's government on Saturday backed down on a plan to force school children to take Chinese patriotism classes, after weeks of protests and on the eve of crucial legislative polls.

"The amendment of this policy means that we are giving the authority to the schools," the city's leader, Mr Leung Chun-ying, told reporters a day after activists said more than 100,000 protesters rallied at government headquarters.

"The schools are given the authority to decide when and how they would like to introduce the moral and national education," he added, blaming the mandatory nature of the policy on his predecessor's government.

The proposal to introduce mandatory "national education" classes in all schools from 2016 was condemned as brainwashing by students and teachers, and sparked weeks of protests that brought scores of thousands onto the streets.

 
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