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Hong Kong was never a British colony, according to rewritten textbooks

According to the South China Morning Post, new schoolbooks in Hong Kong will teach students that the city was never a British colony, as Beijing strives to tighten its authority over the region.

According to the research, the Chinese government never recognized the 19th-century treaties that gave Britain control of Hong Kong, according to four sets of textbooks for a citizenship class. They also maintain the government’s stance on the city’s big and occasionally violent protests in 2019, blaming “foreign forces” for the unrest.

The teaching resources have been distributed to schools so that they can choose which to teach beginning in September, according to the publication. The Education Bureau said in a statement to Bloomberg News that textbook publishers are responsible for selecting relevant materials for schoolbooks in accordance with official rules.

Agreements signed by the Qing dynasty and successive governments that made concessions to foreign countries, such as land ownership, are referred to as “unequal treaties” by China’s ruling Communist Party.

Beijing’s unwillingness to acknowledge the agreements reflects the Chinese government’s view that Hong Kong issues are entirely local. In 2019, Liu Xiaoming, China’s then-ambassador to the UK, accused London of “gross interference” for what he viewed as protester support.

Some in China believe that admitting Hong Kong was ever a colony would pave the way for its independence, as some demonstrators have demanded.

During the First Opium War (1839-42) Britain captured Hong Kong Island and later negotiated a treaty giving it control of the New Territories for 99 years. The arrangement came to an end on July 1, 1997, and the city commemorates the date every year. Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose government has strengthened authority over Hong Kong through measures such as a revamped electoral system, may attend this year’s event.

At her final weekly press conference before leaving office later this month, Chief Executive Carrie Lam refused to say whether her administration had established the necessary conditions for the Chinese leader’s visit.

We, of course, would like to have a cheerful atmosphere to celebrate the reunification, she said.

Beijing has blamed some of the opposition that fueled the 2019 protests against the Communist Party’s increasing power to the city’s schools.

Since the upheaval, the curriculum has changed dramatically, with children being taught to memorize transgressions made illegal by a Beijing-imposed security law, a National Security Education Day being held in schools, and teachers being instructed to report pupils who break the law.

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