TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Hong Kong government has instructed all primary and secondary schools in the special administrative region to play the Chinese national anthem and display the five-starred flag when celebrating some holidays.
According to Yahoo News, all Hong Kong schools must adhere to the new guidance, including New Year's Day, Chinese National Day, as well as Hong Kong's annual July 1 commemoration of Chinese rule. They are also strongly encouraged to fly the Chinese flag and play the national anthem on the first day of a school year, graduation ceremonies, school anniversaries, and "regularly" throughout the year.
The Hong Kong Education Bureau explained the new guidelines issued Thursday (June 18) were in accordance with the National Anthem Ordinance, which came into effect last Friday (June 12). It stressed that educating students about the history and importance of the Chinese national anthem would foster national identity, adding this was part of "a moral, civic, national education."
Meanwhile, the pro-Beijing bureau also warned that anyone misusing or insulting the national anthem or flag would face severe consequences, such as criminal charges. However, the bureau did not provide specific examples of misuse or insulting the national song, reported CNA.
Since the Hong Kong anti-extradition protests started in March last year, Beijing has adopted hardline policies to erode the special region's autonomy, including the recently-introduced Hong Kong national security law. International experts have expressed concerns about Beijing's growing influence over Hong Kong and breaching the "one country, two systems" commitment it promised the territory.