Citizenship Education in Hong Kong: Development and Challenges
Until July 1997, when it was returned to Chinese sovereignty, Hong Kong was a British colony for about one and a half centuries. Its long colonial history was characterised by a strategy of depoliticisation on the part of the government and by apoliticised attitudes among its people. There are two major reasons for such a characterisation of Hong Kong. First, situated on the border of China, Hong Kong was geographically more subject to Chinese than British influences, especially in terms of food and water supply and control of refugee and immigrant inflows. Governance of Hong Kong was viable only if there was a consensus among the British, Chinese and Hong Kong governments. This necessitated a scenario in which politics was downplayed. Second, Hong Kong itself was a territory of immigrants, largely composed of refugees from China. Its early immigrants treated Hong Kong as a haven from the Communist regime. At the same time, it was close enough to maintain connections with relatives and friends in the Mainland. A later batch of refugees came during the period of the Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, again to escape from politics. Because of the political-phobia among the refugees, coupled with a Chinese tradition that the common people should keep their distance from governmental and judicial agencies, Hong Kong’s inhabitants tended to avoid politics as far as possible. Instead, they focused their attention on economic activities.
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