Hong Kong schools should remove books that endanger national security, education secretary says

If it’s HK the news just has to be depressing!

The Hong Kong Free Press reports

Hong Kong’s education secretary has brushed aside concerns over self-censorship at schools while maintaining that it was their duty to ensure they did not have any titles that might endanger national security.

Kevin Yeung’s remarks came after local media reported on Monday that hundreds of books which touched on topics such as the 2019 protests and the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown had been removed from some school libraries.school classroom

File photo: Tom Grundy.

According to Ming Pao, three secondary schools removed more than 400 books since last June, with one school alone removing 204 books. The Education Bureau (EDB) published guidelines last February requiring schools to ensure that materials do not endanger national security.

One teacher interviewed by Ming Pao said schools were not given concrete criteria, so they must set their own standards when considering whether books might be in violation of the law. Titles that were retired included those related to the protests against the axed extradition law, the Umbrella Movement, the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown and jailed pro-democracy activists like Joshua Wong.

tang fei chu kwok-keung kevin yeung jasper tsang
Education chief Kevin Yeung (middle) at the opening ceremony of the office of Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers lawmakers Tang Fei (first from left) and Chu Kwok-keung (first from right) on June 6, 2022. Photo: Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers via Facebook.

The education chief, who was officiating an event for two lawmakers with an education background, said the government’s guidelines were “very clear.” The EDB would provide support if schools encountered any problems, Yeung added.

Yeung also said that it was the schools’ responsibility to make sure their libraries did not contain books that endangered national security, as publications can impact students’ thoughts and mindset.

In June 2020, Beijing inserted national security legislation directly into Hong Kong’s mini-constitution – bypassing the local legislature – following a year of pro-democracy protests and unrest. It criminalised subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts, which were broadly defined to include disruption to transport and other infrastructure. The move gave police sweeping new powers, alarming democrats, civil society groups and trade partners, as such laws have been used broadly to silence and punish dissidents in China. However, the authorities say it has restored stability and peace to the city.


When asked whether the national security law had forced schools to self-censor or if the removal of books would hinder students’ learning of extracurricular knowledge, Yeung said those were “two separate things.”

Read more at https://hongkongfp.com/2022/06/06/hong-kong-schools-should-remove-books-that-endanger-national-security-education-secretary-says/