Hong Kong is marking its first “National Security Education Day” to advertise a sweeping legislation that Beijing imposed on the semi-autonomous territory final 12 months.
Children as younger as three years previous have been amongst these studying concerning the nationwide safety legislation, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday, whereas authorities invited folks throughout the town to create “mosaic walls” with messages of assist or smiling footage of themselves at cultural centres and faculties.
Police and different safety forces are anticipated to carry a parade performing the Chinese navy’s “goose step” march later within the day.
Hong Kong’s authorities mentioned Thursday’s occasions have been geared toward making a “positive atmosphere of national security” and deepening metropolis residents’ understanding of the nationwide safety legislation in addition to China’s structure and the town’s mini-constitution.
The widely-criticised safety laws, launched in June final 12 months, punishes something Beijing deems subversion, secession, “terrorism” or collusion with international forces with as much as life in jail.
Since the legislation was imposed, greater than 100 folks have been arrested on allegations of undermining nationwide safety.
In the run-up to the celebrations, stickers and bookmarks studying “Uphold National Security, Safeguard our Home” have been delivered to colleges and kindergartens, based on media reviews.
“We hope to teach kindergarten pupils about the correct understanding of National Security Education Day, for instance, in terms of national identity, we are Chinese people living in Hong Kong,” the pinnacle of 1 kindergarten, Nancy Lam Chui-ling, informed the South China Morning Post.
“National security law concepts are indeed difficult to teach to kindergarten kids. That’s why we hope to nurture them at a young age about positive values, so they can distinguish between black and white when they grow up,” she mentioned.
‘Support! Support! Support!’
At the Wong Cho Bau Secondary School within the metropolis, college students gathered for a flag-raising ceremony.
“As a Chinese person, as Hong Kong people, what we need to do is to be prepared, and exert ourselves, for the country,” head trainer Hui Chun Lung informed college students.
Hui confused the “stability” the safety legislation delivered to the town, earlier than a two-minute video displaying completely different college students expressing assist for the laws was performed.
Students then lined as much as stick “wish cards” on a mosaic wall.
“Supporting the national security law is not an issue. Support! Support! Support! I hope we can be one with the mainland,” wrote one pupil.
Several faculties additionally held quizzes and exhibition on the significance of nationwide safety, based on native media.
There have been protests, too.
The RTHK broadcaster mentioned 4 pro-democracy activists staged a march via a central metropolis district, demanding common suffrage and the rights to free speech and association.
“We cannot let the government dominate what is meant by national security,” protester Chow Hang-tung informed reporters. “A nation exists for its people – it doesn’t exist to suppress its people and deprive them of their rights.”
She mentioned Beijing’s crackdown was eroding tutorial and press freedoms and forcing many Hong Kong folks to both migrate or go into exile.
“Everything’s been in decline,” she mentioned, describing the legislation as a “weapon of mass destruction” for Hong Kong.
Beijing imposed the brand new legislation on Hong Kong after anti-government and anti-China protests roiled the territory, with a number of the most violent clashes erupting on college campuses. Critics say the laws curbs rights and freedoms within the former British colony, which was promised a excessive diploma of autonomy on its return to Chinese rule in 1997.
Its supporters in China and Hong Kong say the legislation has restored “order” within the metropolis.
The United States, United Kingdom and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officers over the laws, in addition to measures taken to cut back democratic illustration within the metropolis’s establishments.
China has retaliated with sanctions of its personal, whereas Luo Huining, Beijing’s prime consultant in Hong Kong mentioned on Thursday that any international powers that attempt to use the town as a pawn will face additional countermeasures.
“We will give a lesson to all foreign forces which intend to use Hong Kong as a pawn,” Luo mentioned at a ceremony to mark the National Security Education Day.