Traumatized-Kids-Gate continues to unfold (background here; Standard editorial reflects typical reaction). As the first NatSec horror to be inflicted specifically on small children, this has been the most embarrassing for the authorities. Or it would be if they had any shame or awareness. The Guardian notes…
Hong Kong’s education authorities sought to distance themselves from the incident.
…and indeed shift the blame onto teachers for not using their ‘judgement’. Most schools would no doubt love to distance themselves from patriotic brainwashing, but dare not in the NatSec-era climate. If a teacher deviates from the Education Bureau’s guidance notes for new political indoctrination classes, someone might call a secret police snitch line and report them. The education bureaucrats who wrote the materials also have Beijing’s NatSec officials breathing down their necks. Everyone is trying desperately to conform to the new order for fear of getting the Ta Kung Pao treatment. Not exposing the little kiddies to beheadings would have been a risk.
That NatSec ethos of people being too afraid to think for themselves extends well beyond teaching. Which brings us to Lai and other activists getting prison terms for ‘organising, taking part in, or inciting others to participate in’ the Tiananmen Massacre vigil last year. The prosecution and court maintain that it’s all about Covid and public health – nothing political, OK? For a different view, don’t miss the different but equally powerful statements in Jimmy Lai’s letter to the court and Chow Hang-tung’s mitigation.