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 Sunday, September 22 2019 5:59am Hongkong Time

Rejecting Chinese Communist brainwashing in Hong Kong

There are plenty of reasons why people in Hong Kong are worried

Raymond Cheng

This chronicle is an extension from Rebecca Ong's opinion letter: "Patriotism has no place in classroom," dated August 1, 2012.

Anti-brainwashing education hunger strike (c) Anthony Chow
Thousands of anti-national education protesters occupying the government headquarters on September 3, 2012. Photo courtesy of Anthony Chow.

Tens of thousands of protesters marched the busy streets of Hong Kong in late July protesting the government's introduction of Beijing-biased patriotic national education (see below for reasons). The government, however, maintains its plan for such curriculum to be made compulsory in 2015 in all elementary schools though senior officials claimed that they were not forcibly pushing the program ahead. Thousands of students (8000 reported by organizer as of September 3, 2012; police says 6500; photo above), all wearing black, gathered at the government headquarters daily since September 3, 2012 to express support for 11 marathon hunger strikers, trying a very last time to change the government's evil plan to please the Beijing authorities.

The following chronicle is meant to provide readers with reference information and background readings as to why the issue has taken up so much heat in the local communities of Hong Kong.


Raymond Cheng



  • Local pro-Beijing legislators, including the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, have either directly or indirectly rejected or fail to show support for the inclusion of the following major controversies in the proposed curriculum for national education.
    1. The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) - a decade of riots which led to the death of some 500,000 and brought China's economic and education systems to a virtual halt, leaving illiteracy rates in some provinces to as high as 41% even some 20 years after the revolution; countless historical relics, artifacts, antiques, books, and paintings were destroyed by the Red Guards; status of traditional Chinese culture severely damaged, etc.
    2. Tiananmen Square Massacre (June 4th) 1989 - in which the Chinese government was widely condemned for the use of force against students protesting peacefully; hundreds killed or ran over by tanks yet still officially denied by Beijing as of today.
    3. Issues that cause embarrassment for the ruling party in Beijing, for instance, human rights issue (few in China knows who Liu Xiao-bo, the winner of the 2010 Nobel peace prize, is), melamine milk powder scandal, poisonous food, unethical policies, locking up dissidents in mental hospitals or prisons, quality issues with public works, unfair trials, prison and child labor, human organ trafficking, corrupted bureaucrats, forced abortions, forced disappearances, forced suicides (forced this, forced that, and the list goes on forever)
  • Even for other less controversial topics, Chinese Communist-style national education has a record of focusing on unbalanced arguments (biased favourably toward the ruling party).
    1. For instance, material on the construction of the Three Gorges Dam (aka Yangtze River Dam) focuses mainly on the blessings of the CCP and its contribution to the Chinese people; ecological, environmental, cultural (e.g. flooding of historical relics), forced eviction or displacement of people, or any other social ethical issues are often breezed through briefly, if not totally ignored (source: HK Cable TV news interview).
    2. Colonialism is simply skipped. Success of Hong Kong as a colony under 150 years of capitalistic British rule is lightly touched, if at all. Rumour has it that even the former British embassy building in Shanghai was demolished overnight just to make sure "the shameful past of China (during the early 1900s) got cleanly wiped from the history of China."
    3. Republic of China, often known simply as Taiwan (controlled by the Nationalists), is out of discussion as well. Taiwan is only mentioned as a province of China with no mentioning of its self-elected president, Ma Ying-jeou, as well as its government, let alone Taiwan's path toward a democractic society.
    4. While China's constitution says that it explicitly allows "freedom of religious belief," its practice has actually been seriously questioned. Advocating Vatican's right to appoint bishops, pledging allegiance to any foreign figure, including the Pope, is considered rebellious, if not treason. Tight religious control in the province of Xinjiang, crackdown against Falun Gong adherents, faith-related violence, the Dalai Lama, Tibetan's government-in-exile, and even Tibet's 'Snow Lion flag' are all subjects of taboo. It is even said that the CCP has launched similar patriotic education campaigns in order to shape new generations of Tibetan Buddhists to give up on their religion's secular power, turning traditional Tibetan Buddhism into some kind of a state-sanctioned sect – an obvious cause for the CCP to force (oh yes, force again) the Dalai Lama on his path of exile.
    5. By the way, according to the Chinese Communist-style national education, Mao ze-dong, the late CCP leader, has (miraculously) done absolutely nothing wrong in his entire life. Alexander Pope's words, "To err is human; to forgive, divine", simply does not apply to any of Mao's deeds in his lifetime. The CCP, supposingly made up of a group of atheists, surprisingly, dare not say anything about Mao's forgiving, if any at all.
  • Given all these restrictions on the content as well as the many strings of terror attached to such kind of Chinese-style patriotic national education, people of Hong Kong share basically zero confidence in this type of less-than-wonderful education, particularly when they have seen those who had been taught this way act to either show their patriotism or air their grievances in less than civilized manners. Check the facts and you'll see how "harmonious" they are.
    1. In the "Aftermath of the Chinese Embassy bombing" - protesters threw rocks, paint, and eggs at the American embassy, while Ambassador James Sasser and other diplomatic personnel were trapped inside and at one point were burning documents fearing demonstrators would break in - PBS (1999/05/10)
    2. Ethnic riots: China locks down western province after ethnic riots kill 140 - fighting between Uighur Muslims and Han Chinese on streets of Urumqi leaving over 800 injured - Guardian (2009/07/06)
    3. Even after losing a fair game: Chinese riot after Japan win final (in Asian Cup 2004) - set fire to Japanese flags, threw bottles and hurled abuse before riot police made their move; Chinese soccer fans are not very civilized, giving very bad impression to people around the world - CNN (2004/08/08)
    4. Not to mention those "Mass protests in China point to sharp social tensions" - from protests to road blocking and riots; over official corruption, social inequality and the destruction of jobs - World Socialist Website (2004/11/01)
    5. Or anti-Japanese demonstrations in 2005: Behind China's anti-Japan riots - rock-throwing, window-smashing, attack diplomatic offices, Japanese electronics shops, Japanese restaurants (ironically, mostly owned by the Chinese), exchange students, anything and anyone associated with Japan - article by Gary Leupp,, dated April 22, 2005.
    6. And most recently: Why China resents Japan, and the US - overturning Toyotas, smashing windows; the rage of China's crowds lies in China's nationalist (or so-called patriotic) ideology; the "Godless" atheistic Chinese Communist Party uses its educational and propaganda systems to socialize (i.e. brainwash) citizens into a particular understanding of history, see also the chronicle on "Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands dispute between Japan and China", Maoist triumphalism has been eclipsed since the mid-1990s by a new "victim narrative" about Chinese suffering - New York Times (2012/08/24)
Oh yes, people in Hong Kong do have lots of good reasons to be worried.

Full of unheard voices from protesters on post-its (c) Helena Yau
Full of unheard voices on post-its from protesters. Photo courtesy of Helena Yau.




  • "Born in iniquity and conceived in sin, nationalism has never ceased to bring humanity dissension and distress." -Thorstein Veblin
  • "Patriotism is flag-cheering national self-assertion with no constructive duties." -H.G. Wells
  • "Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy." -Bernard Shaw
  • "Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." -Bertrand Russell
  • "Nationalism is an infantile disease." -Albert Einstein



Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA, is the founder and chief editor of He is an adjunct professor in international business and in marketing, an independent policy analyst as well as a language and cultural briefing consultant.

Email Raymond at raymond {dot} cheng {at} kellogg {dot} oxon {dot} org

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COUNT ON THE STATISTICS  100% Towels (c) Daniel Chittka
Photo © Daniel Chittka

This new section contains some interesting statistics in bribe and corruption, please check back for more as we pile up our numbers!

It's statistics time!  Using n-gram: kickback, graft, bribe and corruption - Comparison of their historical occurrences from 1810 to 2009 A.D.

  The word guanxi (collocation) and meanings of bribe: Deeply rooted, disgusting, sad endings

Looking for a good book (c) Doug Logan
Photo © Doug Logan
tagged by area of interestBY AREA OF INTEREST
Pragmatics: Politeness trends from the historical perspective of global trade
Computer mediated communications: Social network – Came riding the waves of amazing coincidences
Language acquisition:
A critique on "A corpus driven study of the potential for vocabulary learning through watching movies"

Grammatical analysis: "When a linguist stumbled upon a Buttonwood"
Lexicon and the corpus: "John Sinclair's lexical items – an introduction"
tagged by regionBY REGION • Anything AsiaUS Presence in Asia
ChinaTaiwanHong Kong and MacauJapanKoreaSingaporeMalaysiaPhilippinesPakistanIndiaAfghanistanVietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and MyanmarTimor-Leste and IndonesiaMongoliaNew Zealand and Australia
tagged by topicsBY TOPIC • BiofuelRhino and elephant poachingAmerican movies hit China marketChina Internet censorshipChina's outward FDI opportunitiesGlobal rice yield
Island disputes in Southeast Asia | Senkakus-Diaoyu and historical findings | Dokdo-Takeshima | Spratly, Paracel, Scarborough | Kurils

For those you who don't have time to read all our news excerpts about the Asian island disputes (links above), you may find the following video, "The economic impact of a war between Japan and China", very enlightening.

© Minute MBA: More from

Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!

Photo © Igor Mukhin, retrieved from Wikipedia

"This trial is another example of the Kremlin's attempts to discourage and delegitimize dissent. It is likely to backfire." John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme

 More from Amnesty InternationalFree Pussy Riot

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08/17 Pussy Riot imprisoned on hooliganism charges
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08/20 NZ PM – Sentence 'disproportionate'
08/20 Pussy Riot fear their kids being put in care
08/22 German supporters face criminal charges
08/22 Pussy Riot – it's carefully calibrated
08/23 Russian church-state corruption unveiled
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08/24 Putin-nominated watchdog slams convictions
08/31 'Pussy Riot ritual killing', man detained
09/03 Orthodox deacon speaks over verdict
09/06 Putin denies part in 'Pussy Riot case'
09/10 Pussy Riot benefit concert draws 1,000
09/10 Gorbachev says verdict "disproportionate"
09/19 Punk group to transfer to remote penal colony
09/21 Aung San calls on Moscow to release RP
10/01 Sentence appeal delayed until Oct 10
10/10 Katya freed, 2 years for Nadya and Masha
10/16 Masha and Nadya sent to remote labor prison

BBC • Pussy Riot women begin life in prison

11/16 Merkel challanges Putin on imprisonment
11/22 Maria Alekhina transferred to solitary cell
11/28 Tolokonnikova's appeal case goes to court
12/24 Extremist videos appeal adjourned

01/15 Masha's sentence deferment denied
02/01 PR civil claim granted right to appeal
02/07 Pussy Riot files complaint with ECHR
03/06 Ombudsman asks court to overturn verdict
03/08 Protesters detained in Moscow
04/13 PR gets reprimand: parole problematic
04/21 PR defense seeks abolition of conviction
07/26 Parole denied, PR remains defiant

The Knife supporting PR at Pukkelpop

08/17 Against verdict on PR – Day of Solidarity
08/23 PR seeks mitigation of remaining sentence
GLUCK ON SOCIALISM AND CHINA Asia (c) Robert Churchill
Photo © Robert Churchill

Professor Sidney Gluck (c) Sandi BachomI am honored to have obtained Professor Sidney Gluck's (right) permission to allow me to repost here some of his work and interview related to China and socialism. Professor Gluck is professor emertius at the New School University in New York. A classical Marxist, Gluck has been studying China for 60 years in history and modern development. He has lectured all over the U.S. and still welcomes engagement at the age of 94 – photo © Sandi Bachom


Usman Khurshid on Mike McCune's HD Monitor with Paths logo with Maartje van Caspel's Public Space
I am proud to announce that the website is now carrying the technology updates from Usman Khurshid's Usman is a network consultant and works in a mixed environment of Windows and Linux platforms. He likes to study about the latest advancements in computer technology and shares his views on his blog.

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Oh, please do not get me wrong. This new section is not about computers, electronics or any engineering stuff, but rather I am currently constructing a new corpus based on Spectrum, the monthly publication from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers USA, from July 2007 to date. Having been a member for over 20 years since 1992, I am always fascinated by some of the terms scientists use when they talk about or envision their new inventions or methodologies. How many of them eventually come into practice? Could there be some insights we could possibly derive, from the linguistics perspective?


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