After weeks of protests and the threat of further politicizing a populace that has been turning against mainland rule and the Communist Party, the HK government has offered a partial surrender on the issue (via BBC):
City leader Leung Chun-ying said the classes would be optional for schools.
“The schools are given the authority to decide when and how they would like to introduce the moral and national education,” he said.
The plans sparked weeks of protest and the changes came a day after activists said more than 100,000 protesters rallied at government headquarters.
Unlike the rest of China, Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of freedom, including a free press, the right to assemble and transparent, accountable institutions.
The BBC’s Juliana Liu, in Hong Kong, says the row is the latest example of the cultural, social and political gap that exists between Hong Kong and its mainland masters.
It also highlights the deep suspicion with which many Hong Kong people continue to regard the Chinese government.
I wonder how schools will take this- might China try the same financial incentive schemes they use abroad to support Confucius Institutes abroad, or encourage Communist Party members in school administrations to implement the classes? And how will Hong Kongers react to schools that ‘choose’ to hold these classes- boycott the schools, or just let it go?