Hong Kong backs down over patriotism lessons ahead of poll

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Hong Kong backs down over patriotism lessons ahead of poll

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Hong Kong voters are casting their ballots in Legislative Council elections, in the wake of anti-China protests.

Plans for mandatory Chinese patriotism lessons in schools have sparked outrage.

The government’s been forced to re-think the move. Ahead of Sunday’s poll, it said the classes will now be optional.

“The schools are given authority to decide when and how they would like to introduce, implement the ‘moral and national education,’” said Leung Chun-Ying, Hong Kong Chief Executive:

Protesters say the curriculum is Communist Party propaganda and want to see it scrapped altogether.

“The guidelines are still there. The public will have to monitor the schools and the government in the long term and that will be a very tedious and tiring job for the public,” said Taylor Lee, a law student and hunger striker.

“The Hong Kong people can not spend every minute of their lives saving our children from a politically-biased system,” he continued.

Hong Kong is a freewheeling capitalist hub and enjoys a high degree of autonomy, but Beijing has resisted public pressure for full democracy.
Forty of the 70 seats on the governing Legislative Council will be directly elected in Sunday’s poll.