With the government’s lame legal case against Long Hair thrown out of court, and funding for a supposedly private action against two pro-democracy lawmakers mysteriously unavailable, Hong Kong’s cynics might detect a pattern: the Communist-psycho United Front team at the Liaison Office is suspending its assault on evil splittist hostile elements to help new Chief Executive Carrie Lam ease into office.
But then along comes news that Carrie will be appointing pro-Beijing loyalist Christine Choi as the Deputy Vice Sub-Assistant Under-Flunky at the Education Bureau. Choi is unabashedly pro-‘National Education’, also known as ‘Letting Communists Brainwash Our Little Kids’. One highly believable theory is that the Liaison Office wanted Choi to take the top Education Secretary role, and giving her the number-two position is the compromise.
Whatever it is, the pro-Beijing cause is making life harder for itself. Pro-dem politicians are a relatively safe and easy target, with a sizable portion of the public buying the pro-establishment media’s line that their antics cause rather than reflect dysfunctional government. National Education is much tougher to push – indeed, it ranks with Article 23 and political reform in toxicity.
First, parents have that instinctive revulsion about strangers molesting their children – and that includes messing with their minds. Second, the new classes will at best join art, sport and Liberal Studies as a time-wasting distraction from the real, exam-based subjects that enable your precious offspring to become a lawyer, doctor or accountant. Third, the brainwashing will only be for ordinary-middling non-elite folk, as officials and the rich send their kids to safe private/overseas schools.
One way to slip patriotic propaganda into classrooms is to package it less obtrusively, hence measures to label it ‘Civic Education’ or wrap it up in Chinese History and other syllabuses. But then you wouldn’t appoint Christine Choi, who comes with Communist Brainwashing flashing lights and alarm bells attached. This is a gift to the opposition, with far more scope to stir up broad popular anger than, say, the High-Speed Rail Mainland Immigration Zone.
That’s a funny thing about National Education, going back to Donald Tsang’s half-hearted attempts at implementing it. Beijing’s oh-so-subtle officials want it to be high-profile, which creates alarm and resistance, while our local bureaucrats passively undermine it by obediently implementing it accordingly – that is, ineptly.