Education chief says Beijing won't set anthem lessons

Local | 11 Jan 2019 2:20 pm

Education Secretary Kevin Yeung Yun-hung has rejected concerns that a new national anthem law will increase Beijing's influence in the city's classrooms.

The bill to introduce the legislation was gazetted on Friday and will go before Legislative Council within two weeks, RTHK reported.

Under the law, it will be an offence to disrespect "March of the Volunteers" and offenders could face a maximum fine of HK$50,000 and three years in prison.

The anthem will also be taught in schools, but Yeung said he, and not mainland authorities, will set out the curriculum.

"What the bill says is the secretary for education has to give directions to the schools so that students could learn the national anthem at schools and also they could learn the history and also the necessary attitude when they sing the national anthem,” he said.

"It just follows the local education system in terms of learning and teaching. There’s no question of any interference from the mainland."

The bill for the anthem law will also cover international and special needs schools.

Asked whether students will be penalized for disrespecting the anthem, Yeung said it will be up to teachers to decide what’s the appropriate thing to do and the government could provide help to schools if they have difficulties following the bureau’s syllabus.

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