Some 90,000 Hong Kong people took to the streets recently to urge the government to withdraw a new education curriculum said to be biased in favour of China's Communist party - writes Francis Wong.
About 150 Christian schools said they would refuse to use the course in the new school year.
Many demonstrators marched with their children for three to four hours in very hot weather carrying banners and wearing badges that read "no brainwashing."
An adjunct professor of history at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Willy Wo-Lap Lam, said the textbooks to be used in the course present ''very crude patriotic, nationalistic propaganda," according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The movement against the national education courses reflects distrust of the city's new, pro-Beijing chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, he told the newspaper.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, retired bishop of Hong Kong, told media on 28 July 2012 that the government should withdraw the plan.
The diocesan Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, the Hong Kong Christian Institute, and a dozen civil groups organised the demonstration. Zen said that the Nazi Germany, the Communists in China who initiated the Cultural Revolution, had also launched a biased national education curriculum.
The introduction of national education in primary schools has drawn controversy in the former British colony, which was handed over to China in 1997, with many people fearing a political agenda under Communist-ruled China.
A government-subsidised national education teaching manual praises the one-party political system in China as proactive and "selfless," and criticises the US two-party system as bringing "serious partisan fights that make people suffer."
Meanwhile, local Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches, which manage one-third of the 500 primary schools, said they would not implement national education in the coming school year. No penalty has been announced for not running the course.
[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]