Protesters engaging in violence are young people born after Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997, which raises concern about difficulties youth are facing.
Violent protests continue to roil Hong Kong, which has seen its economy slide as more than 600 billion U.S. dollars in stock market value has been erased since June, according to Bloomberg Economics.
Hong Weimin, a Hong Kong deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress and principal liaison officer for Hong Kong at the Shenzhen Qianhai Authority, with decades of experience in communicating with Hong Kong’s youth, said that one of the major internal problems is Hong Kong’s education system, which is now being questioned.
For instance, one of the four compulsory subjects in Hong Kong’s secondary education is called “liberal studies.” The course is required by students to pass the DSE (Diploma of Secondary Education) exam in Hong Kong. It doesn’t have a specific syllabus that lists the curriculum. Instead, students are encouraged to freely comment on current affairs.
Hong said that one should always be concerned about the society but the first thing is to view oneself, and then the society. As secondary students, they are still learning basic knowledge and are taught a simplified version of world affairs. Therefore, it may be hard for them to distinguish fact from fiction.
In addition, Hong also mentioned problems with the textbooks, which often contain negative views of China and offer universal suffrage as the only solution. Hong said this will only deepen the misunderstanding of Hong Kong’s youth.