A question from Hong Kong on whether Japan’s occupation of China had a positive or negative impact has angered Beijing.
A history question addressed to Hong Kong students has sparked a diplomatic rift with China. The question asked the student to evaluate the Japanese occupation of China from the 1900s to 1945.
Hong Kong education system
The country, which has a much freer education system that encourages critical thinking, debate, and analysis, may not have seen it as problematic when they asked their students whether Japan’s occupation of China did more good than harm.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry was NOT pleased with the exam and made its opinion known in a Facebook post shared through their Hong Kong Office. The post argued that the country’s education sector must not become a chicken coop without a roof. It continued by urging for a more patriotic education system and disparaged the question.
Hong Kong’s education system has become a new target for Beijing, seven months after the pro-democracy protest began in the autonomous city. China has accused universities of fueling anti-China propaganda that has incited students to take to the streets demanding their democratic rights.
The question also ignited China’s anger over historical injustice meted against it during the occupation. The occupation was brutal and resulted in the deaths of millions of Chinese citizens.
Hong Kong’s education ministry described the question as a leading one and criticized the exam board for publishing such a question. The ministry also expressed its anger and apologized to the Chinese students who may have been hurt by the questions.
Calls for reform of Hong Kong’s education sector by pro-Beijing politicians are now mainstream, thanks to weeks of anti-China protests. China has also been vocal about the country’s education sector and has called on education administrators to implement a more patriotic system.