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New textbooks claim Hong Kong territory was not a British colony – Breaking News – The Nation

HONG KONG — New textbooks for schools in Hong Kong will state that the territory was never a British colony, local media reported Wednesday. Instead, the books state that the British “only exercised colonial rule” in Hong Kong – a distinction drawn to highlight China’s claims of unbroken sovereignty.
China has always maintained that it never relinquished its sovereignty and that its surrender of Hong Kong to the British was due to unjust Opium War treaties in the 1800s. Kong to China in 1997 after ruling for more than 150 years.
During his reign, he was referring to Hong Kong – a port with a deep harbor that became a booming city-state and one of the world’s major financial centers as a colony, as well as a dependent territory.
The United Kingdom ruled the region from 1841 to 1941 and from 1945 to 1997, after which it was returned to China. China maintains that Hong Kong has always been its territory that the British only occupied it after 1842.
And while the then Qing government signed successive treaties ceding and leasing parts of the territory to Britain, China maintains that these were signed “under duress” and never accepted them.
The Hong Kong government has followed Beijing’s rhetoric since the 1997 handover. It never says that sovereignty has been “transferred” to China, but rather that Hong Kong has “returned to the motherland”. Government museums described Hong Kong as a “British colony”, but those words were removed in 2020 – a move locals said was indicative of China’s tightening control in the semi-autonomous city. The latest move is in line with Beijing’s attempt in recent years to instill a “Chinese identity” in Hong Kong students to sow the idea that Hong Kong has always been part of China, but was removed for a period under British rule. The new textbooks attempt to explain the differences between a colony and colonial rule – the texts stating that for a country to call an external territory a colony, it must have sovereignty as well as governance over the area. In the case of Hong Kong, the British “only exercised colonial rule…so Hong Kong is not a British colony,” the textbooks say, according to local media. The books were written for a specific course to be taught in Hong Kong schools focusing on the ideals of citizenship, legality and patriotism. The subject replaces a liberal studies course that aimed to teach students greater critical thinking skills and insights into civic engagement. Chinese authorities directly criticized the course during mass pro-democracy protests in the city in 2019, saying such education had “radicalized” young people and given them bad ideas. The new textbooks, which have not yet been printed and are awaiting final approval from Chinese authorities, according to local media, also reflect Beijing’s characterization of the mass pro-democracy protests in 2019 as a threat to the security.


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