Hong Kong teachers might have to pass a test on the city’s national security law, a top government official said, as the local education system is remade to foster greater loyalty to Beijing.
Examinations would bring requirements for government educators in line with those facing civil servants, Education Secretary Kevin Yeung said in an interview with Radio Television Hong Kong published on Friday (Oct 15).
The city has used the Beijing-imposed law to arrest more than 150 people on charges carrying sentences as long as life in prison and justify a wave of new policies on everything from tax exemptions to film censorship.
“We have to work on national education, national security education, and we hope to foster students’ national identity,” Mr Yeung told the public broadcaster. “Teachers are students’ guidance, so we expect them to have a certain degree of understanding of the Basic Law.”
The city’s education system has been overhauled since Beijing blamed what it called Hong Kong’s insufficiently patriotic youth for the mass protests of 2019.
Since then, sweeping changes to the curriculum have seen children as young as six taught to memorise offences criminalised by the law, a National Security Day has been launched in schools and teachers were advised to report on children who breach the law.
Government educators are already tested on the Basic Law, the city’s mini Constitution that guarantees free speech and assembly – rights not protected on the mainland. The new test could be rolled out to teachers in government-aided schools and kindergartens, Mr Yeung told RTHK.
Civil servants will be tested on the security law, which criminalises subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers, from the middle of next year, according to government plans submitted to the city legislature this week, local media reported.