The hottest debate in Hong Kong today is on Sino-Japanese history in World War II. The Education Bureau, pretending to be the embodiment of righteousness, scraps “biased” China history question in the history paper of the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) exam. The citizens, instigated by the news, divided into two confronting camps on the issue of Sino-Chinese relationships.
On Wednesday, state media China Daily published a commentary on education in Hong Kong and blamed the history teachings at local schools. Education Bureau claimed the next day that the question about Sino-Japanese history was “leading and biased” as if the exam body was immoral in nature. When state media bombarded at the exam body, Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA), and blamed it “biased and traitorous”..
In the history exam that took place on Thursday, candidates were asked whether they agreed with the statement “Japan did more good than harm to China in the period of 1900-45.” They had to answer the question using their own knowledge and reference to two sources provided, which mentioned Chinese students studying in Japan and Japan’s loan to the republican government of the time.
Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung made the false allegation against the exam body at a press conference on Friday, saying that the question on Sino-Japanese history was highly possible that students would come to a “biased conclusion” ,i.e. citing positive effects of Japanese invasion to China, when citing the provided sources.
However, it is revealed today (May 16th) that the Education Bureau has made it a regular practice for years to have its representatives supervise the HKEAA when the professionals were making out questions for pubic exams. In other words, the event of the “wrong” questions on history amounts to a trap set up by Yeung to smear the HKEAA.
The netizens in Hong Kong discovered that Cambridge Exam had similar questions in 2013. Yeung’s condemnation on HKEAA is unfounded, but it spurs debates and confrontations among the public—a Cultural Revolution 2.0 is plaguing the city.
Ironically, Chairman Mao Zedong was the first to conclude the positive effects of the Japanese invasion in China. If Mao could say something positive about the invasion, it is illogical for HK government to accuse HKEAA of doing the same.
Isaac Cheng, the vice-chair of pro-democracy group Demosisto, slammed the bureau’s move as political suppression and “blatantly pressuring” the HKEAA to self-censor.
Student-led protests against national education legislation at the Civic Square in 2012. File Photo: Wikimedia Commons. (Source: HKFP)