BEIJING - China has hinted that it will move to introduce "patriotic" education in Hong Kong, in a bid to foster a stronger sense of national identity in the territory where protests have been going on for months.
The move will mean reviving a similar effort that was scuppered by mass student protests seven years ago.
Mr Shen Chunyau, a senior Chinese official from the National People's Congress (NPC), China's Parliament, said there was a particular need to enhance education for public servants and youth in Hong Kong and Macau, both Special Administrative Regions of China governed under the "one country, two systems" framework.
This is so they can "better understand the Constitution, the basic law, the national reality, China's history, and Chinese culture, and foster a stronger sense of national identity and patriotism among Hong Kong and Macau compatriots", said Mr Shen, who heads the NPC's Basic Law Committee.
Hong Kong, where protests have raged for more than five months, was an "important part of the discussions", said Mr Shen on Friday (Nov 1) at the just-concluded Fourth Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee.
The plenum is a closed-door meeting where about 400 of the party's top-ranking officials chart China's future direction.
In a communique released on the meeting on Thursday evening, Beijing had signalled that it would take a tougher approach to the unrest in Hong Kong, saying it would set up an "enforcement mechanism" to safeguard national security.
Mr Shen outlined Beijing's future approach at a press conference where reporters were briefed on the plenum, saying that China would not tolerate any challenge to "one country, two systems".
Apart from education, leaders of both Hong Kong and Macau must, above all else, be patriotic, and that there was a need to improve the system by which chief executives and key officials of both territories are selected, he said.
Beijing would also support the strengthening of law enforcement.
"We must ensure that the 'one country' is the premise and basis of the 'two systems', and the 'two systems' is subordinate to, and derived from, the 'one country'," he said.