April 28, 2006

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China Says HK Needs Brainwashing, Fear of Hitler

According to an official report of a Beijing Commission on democracy in Hong Kong, there should be no plans to significantly expand the franchise for the time being. One Qinghua academic, Wang Zhen Min, said that Hong Kong did not have enough 'patriotic education'.

Now of course, it sounds horrible to have Chinese nationalism forced down our throat, sitting here in Hong Kong. But from another perspective, it is a perfectly reasonable proposition - as a city that is now part of China (and I note this by the increasing number of websites, that when they ask me where I am from, do not have Hong Kong as a separate option but force me to choose China), it is only reasonable that Hong Kong be exposed in its educational curriculum to the civic indoctrination of the rest of the country. But from another perspective it is monstrous, because Hong Kong is above all else, a free-thinking society, where there is liberty even if there is not democracy; it is also unique in having local attitudes that are far less shaped by a sort of patriotic canon than another other territory, owing to its past. To be forced to swallow and submit fully to a nationalism, especially one such as China's that hides so much of its less pleasant history from its own citizens, is very disturbing.

The other academic, Xu Chong De, managed to trump this first one in his suggestions by saying (as did Regina Ip - and got her fired) that democracy wasn't anything special because it led to Hitler and Mussolini. He also went on too warn against 'blind worship of universal suffrage' as only 'one kind of democracy'.

He is, of course, counting the People's Republic of China as 'another' sort of democracy. What people that bring up the bogeyman of Hitler in this instance seem to forget is that the fascism of Europe in the 1930s was due to incomplete democracies, and due to the weakness of political institutions. If there is one thing that is strong and resilient here in Hong Kong, it is our institutions. The fascists they bring up appear more in situations of uncertainty, where demagogues can take power due to weakness of the state and of political machinery. Ones that can subsequently sweep aside any checks and balances in a system and rule by personal fiat. Demagogues, for instance, like Mao Ze Dong...enough said, I should think.

posted by HK Dave on 04.28.06 at 06:12 PM in the Hong Kong democracy/politics category.


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"it is only reasonable that Hong Kong be exposed in its educational curriculum to the civic indoctrination of the rest of the country."

Of course, as everybody who's spent any real time on the mainland knows, it is not reasonable, nor is it desirable.

What Beijing is suggesting is the wholescale brainwashing of HK.

I've seen it creeping in over the year and it's not pretty.

posted by: ACB on 05.07.06 at 08:15 PM [permalink]

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