The nation is apparently altering its history books to educate future generations of students that Hong Kong was never colonized by the United Kingdom.
The reality is that Britain seized Hong Kong from China during the First Opium War and secured a 99-year lease for it and surrounding regions in 1898.
Hong Kong was restored to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 after the lease ended, but the city’s position with a distinct system from that of the communist Chinese government has sparked severe difficulties.
While Hong Kong is under Chinese rule, its own government is in charge of its legal and financial matters, and the two countries have worked under the “one nation, two systems” paradigm.
Chinese attempts to further integrate Hong Kong in recent years have sparked widespread opposition to the loss of autonomy.
Hong Kong was given to the British by treaty in the 1800s, but today students who want to take a lesson on Chinese citizenship will be taught from materials that suggest the Chinese government doesn’t recognize such treaties.
In order to maintain the position that Hong Kong was never legally divided from China, it will now be included in history texts that the British Empire “only exercised colonial rule” in the region in order to ensure that it never separated from China.
It permits the Chinese government to claim uninterrupted sovereignty over the land and establish its authority over it by not recognizing the “unequal treaties.”
As long as China refuses to recognize any of the treaties that gave Hong Kong to the United Kingdom, it may argue that Hong Kong’s population is Chinese and hence under its jurisdiction.
Students in Hong Kong are being encouraged to develop a “Chinese identity” as part of Chinese government efforts to instill a sense of national pride in the next generation.
The official narrative of the Chinese government will be repeated in the new textbooks, which state that the pro-democracy demonstrations that took place in Hong Kong in 2019 were sparked by “external forces,” rather than a desire to avoid being subsumed by an oppressive and totalitarian regime. The demonstrations were instigated, in point of fact, by a law that would have authorized the extradition of persons to the mainland of China.