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Rachel Lu

15 Years After Hong Kong Handover, Let the Brainwashing Begin

A shot of the "Teaching Handbook" circulating on Weibo

China’s ruling party is “progressive, selfless and united,” while “hard battle among political parties brings disaster to the people” of America.

At least, this is the reality according to a new pamphlet handed out to elementary and secondary school students in Hong Kong, the former British colony, 15 years after its handover to China. 

The Teaching Handbook of National Conditions under the Chinese Model {{1}}[[1]]中国模式国情专题教学手册[[1]] is published by the Citizen Education Services Center, an organization sponsored by Hong Kong’s Education Bureau to the tune of HK$10 million per year (US$1.2 million), according to local press in Hong Kong. The pamphlets were distributed to Hong Kong’s elementary and secondary schools in June 2012. 

According to this passage in a screenshot of the pamphlet posted on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter:

In contrast to the system in the West in which political parties rotate in and out, the ruling group in China focuses on serving the country and serving the people. The administration’s ideology and direction are homogenous [from within], thus ensuring the continuity of the regime and social stability.

In a sidebar, the pamphlet introduces the political system in the U.S. under the heading “Hard Battle Among Political Parties Brings Disaster to the People.” Exhibit A is the threat of a federal government shutdown in April 2011, when the two major parties in the U.S. struggled to reach a budget deal. The pamphlet goes on to note that the shutdown was only avoided in the last minute when the parties engaged in “some haggling.”

Alluding to the promise by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping that freedoms in Hong Kong would remain unchanged for 50 years after the handover, @仗剑策马 quipped on Sina Weibo, “50 years? After only 15 years, now they have started to foreshadow what’s to come with this kind of brainwashing. Looks like Hong Kong will fall soon.” {{2}}[[2]]50年不变?。才15年,现在就开始做铺垫洗脑。。香港看来也快沦陷咯 [[2]] @芙珞拉 is pessimistic about Hong Kong’s future: “I see a tragedy being played out. Freedom, I’m kissing you goodbye.” {{3}}[[3]]我已经看见一出悲剧正上演…自由,我和你吻别![[3]]

@BigFish_L has more faith in the Hong Kong people, “They have freedom of press and freedom of speech, it’s not so easy to brainwash them.” {{4}}[[4]]人哋有新闻同言论嘅自由,想洗脑冇咁易[[4]] @羊城网小劳 agrees, “Even mainlanders don’t believe this, how can they make Hong Kong people believe it?” {{5}}[[5]]大陆同胞都不相信的事情,香港同胞还会相信?[[5]]

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Rachel Lu

Rachel Lu is a co-founder of Tea Leaf Nation. Rachel traces her ancestry to Southern China. She spent much of her childhood memorizing Chinese poetry. After long stints in New York, New Haven and Cambridge, she has returned to China to bear witness to its great transformation. She is currently based in China.
  • http://www.postlinearity.com gregorylent

    makes it sound like america, the best internal propaganda in the world

  • http://www.postlinearity.com gregorylent

    makes it sound like america, the best internal propaganda in the world

  • Antiehypocrite

    What are on about?  Democracy western style has failed.   http://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/on-location/greece.html

  • Antiehypocrite

    What are on about?  Democracy western style has failed.   http://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/on-location/greece.html

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IBXY5UG6NOAANY4MT47JANOAFY Macca

    You cannot call this this brainwashing, this is just another opinion that is probably closer to the truth of reality, than the version propagated in ‘western’ societies.

    “Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they
    undoubtedly are today” (Mahatma Gandhi 1869-1948)

    • You are crazy

      Oh please…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IBXY5UG6NOAANY4MT47JANOAFY Macca

    You cannot call this this brainwashing, this is just another opinion that is probably closer to the truth of reality, than the version propagated in ‘western’ societies.

    “Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they
    undoubtedly are today” (Mahatma Gandhi 1869-1948)

    • You are crazy

      Oh please…

  • Matt

    I don’t know why the other commenters are trying to sound so cool and indifferent about this story. In my opinion this behaviour is pretty easy to condemn. It is an underhand move, which uses children’s education as a means of gaining influence, playing politics and generally trying to annoy opposition powers. This is unacceptable and should not be looked at so apathetically. @gregorylent:disqus Yes, we all know that this happens in America, for example, but aren’t we all old enough to know that two wrongs don’t make a right?
    @yahoo-IBXY5UG6NOAANY4MT47JANOAFY:disqus Yes, we can call this brainwashing, which can be defined as a ‘systematic indoctrination through repetition’ (thank you, dictionary.reference.com). Yes, every education system has biases but I don’t ever remember being taught that anything is absolute. Everything that I have been taught I have been encouraged to question. This is not something that will result from this  ’opinion’ sharing by the Chinese government. This is harmful because opinions should never be taught as fact.Also, please be more specific when you refer to ‘western societies’. The politics and opinions here vary wildly from country to country and I’m sure you wouldn’t be naive enough to lump them all together, eh?
    I have faith in the people of Hong Kong, but if a teacher tells a child something, they believe it.

  • Matt

    I don’t know why the other commenters are trying to sound so cool and indifferent about this story. In my opinion this behaviour is pretty easy to condemn. It is an underhand move, which uses children’s education as a means of gaining influence, playing politics and generally trying to annoy opposition powers. This is unacceptable and should not be looked at so apathetically. @gregorylent:disqus Yes, we all know that this happens in America, for example, but aren’t we all old enough to know that two wrongs don’t make a right?
    @yahoo-IBXY5UG6NOAANY4MT47JANOAFY:disqus Yes, we can call this brainwashing, which can be defined as a ‘systematic indoctrination through repetition’ (thank you, dictionary.reference.com). Yes, every education system has biases but I don’t ever remember being taught that anything is absolute. Everything that I have been taught I have been encouraged to question. This is not something that will result from this  ’opinion’ sharing by the Chinese government. This is harmful because opinions should never be taught as fact.Also, please be more specific when you refer to ‘western societies’. The politics and opinions here vary wildly from country to country and I’m sure you wouldn’t be naive enough to lump them all together, eh?
    I have faith in the people of Hong Kong, but if a teacher tells a child something, they believe it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M2UTKA5OB32WLP5L3KV34F5M6Q Maria Mayer

    They have Catholicism as a milenary barrier against any imperial attack on the mind

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M2UTKA5OB32WLP5L3KV34F5M6Q Maria Mayer

    They have Catholicism as a milenary barrier against any imperial attack on the mind

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M2UTKA5OB32WLP5L3KV34F5M6Q Maria Mayer

    Interesting, balanced, revealing, original, material you don’t find elsewhere in the internet or the mainstream media; it has some valid criticisms of the US “free” market system, and of Communist indoctrination as well.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M2UTKA5OB32WLP5L3KV34F5M6Q Maria Mayer

    Interesting, balanced, revealing, original, material you don’t find elsewhere in the internet or the mainstream media; it has some valid criticisms of the US “free” market system, and of Communist indoctrination as well.

  • http://twitter.com/risenlotus The Truth

    If the propaganda says “progressive, selfless and unified” then you can bet that the exact opposite is the reality, otherwise why is there the need to force it into the minds of the people? So instead read ‘stubborn, selfish and in-fighting’ that is definitely the reality within th regime today!!

  • http://twitter.com/risenlotus The Truth

    If the propaganda says “progressive, selfless and unified” then you can bet that the exact opposite is the reality, otherwise why is there the need to force it into the minds of the people? So instead read ‘stubborn, selfish and in-fighting’ that is definitely the reality within th regime today!!