DHARAMSALA, 16 June: After maintaining that Britain’s rule in Hong Kong did not usurp its sovereignty over the territory, China has now launched new textbooks for Hong Kong schools declaring the territory was never a British colony.
At least five textbooks sent to Hong Kong secondary schools for pre-publication review stress that the current Chinese government never recognised the historic treaties that ceded the territory to the UK, the Financial Times reported.
“Even [though] Britain occupied Hong Kong . . . the Chinese Government did not recognise such unequal treaties and insisted [on] her sovereignty over Hong Kong,” the report added citing one “exemplar answer” in a textbook released by Modern Educational Research Society, a Hong Kong publisher.
“Therefore, Hong Kong did not satisfy the condition of ‘a country losing sovereignty’ and was not a colony,” the textbook reads.
While China has always asserted that it never gave up sovereignty and that it was forced to surrender Hong Kong to the British due to unfair Opium War treaties in the 1800s, media reports said that recasting history is part of Beijing’s ideological clampdown in the city.
Though the textbooks are “still being vetted by” the Chinese authorities, it reportedly parrots Beijing’s characterisation of the pro-democracy demonstrations in 2019 as violent riots stoked by “external forces”.
The textbooks reportedly state that the 2019 protests were a threat to China’s national security and that external forces were behind these protests
Hong Kong was run by a British colonial administration from 1841 to 1941, and from 1945 to 1997. The UK returned Hong Kong to China in 1997 after ruling for over 150 years.
The critics are of the view that China is rewriting the History to ‘brainwash’ students with the new syllabus that mentions ‘national security’ more than 400 times in 121 pages.