The Big Ideas

'Beijing won total control of Hong Kong. Now, the "brainwashing" begins.'
'Beijing won total control of Hong Kong. Now, the "brainwashing" begins.'
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April 20, 2021
BIG IDEA | ‘April 15 was not a normal Thursday in Hong Kong. That occasion, the first “National Security Education Day” since China imposed a tough security law in June, was the most visible display of Hong Kong’s fall from a relatively free, boisterous territory to an ­Orwellian place that resembles the repressive mainland.’

The China Macro Reporter has tracked Beijing’s takeover of Hong Kong each step of the way.

  • For me, reading and selecting those articles and analyses has probably been the hardest task I’ve had as your editor.

But reading about 'National Security Day' was especially tough.

  • Because, as the article's title suggests, it means Beijing's control of Hong Kong is complete.
  • And the 'brainwashing' can now begin.

National Security Day itself is not especially significant.

  • Instead, the Day’s significance is as a symbol of the far-reaching changes in school activities and curricula.
  • All designed to engender among the most easily persuadable love of the Motherland and support for the policies – especially the new ‘National Security Law’ - that stripped Hong Kong of its rights. Catch ‘em while they’re young.

As the article reports:

  • ‘The day started with flag-raising ceremonies at most schools and the singing of the Chinese national anthem, the “March of the Volunteers.” ’
  • ‘Many schools also organized national security puzzle games and asked students to write “wish cards” pledging support for the new law — the resulting works resembled the message-covered “Lennon Walls” synonymous with the ­democracy movement.’

‘Teachers were told to make the point that adhering to the national security law is as simple as following school rules.'

  • ‘One elementary school teacher, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said she had to play a cartoon for her students about “national ­security,” featuring an owl in a scarf [this is truly worth watching], and distribute a booklet ­explaining the new law.'

'Kindergarten students, many as young as three, were spared the booklets because they cannot read.'

  • But they still 'had to participate in various National Security Education Day events, including smiling for photos that would fill a mosaic wall of those dedicated to protecting national security.'  
  • 'The mosaics appeared at locations across the city; throughout the day, small groups of Beijing supporters turned up to add photos of themselves in hues of blue, the color of the establishment.'  

‘Hong Kong’s law enforcement agencies also arranged an “open day” for the public.'

  • [There are reports that most of the participants had relationships with the cadres and were not everyday citizens.]

'At the Hong Kong Police College, the visuals were a mix of cute and cuddly, dark and authoritarian.'

  • 'Reporters and photographers were led to a courtyard where, under a light drizzle and dark clouds, we would watch Hong Kong police officers goose-step for the first time [see the gif, above].'
  • 'This is the marching style of the People’s Liberation Army, which Police Chief Chris Tang said was fitting for the occasion, a day to mark how proud the force was to be Chinese.'
  • 'Also for the first time, commands were given only in Cantonese, not English.'

‘There were commemorative items:'

At the Hong Kong Police College, children could also buy whole sets of riot police figurines, holding various police flags reading exhortations like “WARNING TEAR SMOKE” and “DISPERSE OR WE FIRE."

And just so the children have no doubt about their country’s boundries, here is screenshot from the cartoon ‘Let’s Learn about National Security’ with the Smart Owl, aimed at primary school children – complete with the Nine-Dash Line outlining China’s illegal claim to the South China Sea and including Taiwan.

There were lots more fun activities to teach children about the National Security Law and what a wonderful change it is for Hong Kong.

  • But this is about all I can take.