Hong Kong students invited to handle rocket launchers during day of pro-Beijing activities

Jasmine Leung
·2 min read
Children play with a mock rocket launcher at Hong Kong Police College - Reuters
Children play with a mock rocket launcher at Hong Kong Police College - Reuters

Hong Kong school-children were on Thursday invited to handle rocket launchers and sing the Chinese national anthem during a day of activities designed to boost loyalty to Beijing.

In classrooms across the city, students as young as six were given lessons on the draconian security law imposed last year as part of the first ‘National Security Education Day’.

Pupils were told to write messages in praise of China on billboards as they took part in flag-raising ceremonies as well as pro-Beijing puzzles and games.

At an open day at Hong Kong’s Police College, students were shown how to handle mock rocket-launchers as officers rappelled down from helicopters and took down 'terrorists' in mock-drills.

Police also demonstrated a new goose-stepping march that mimics the style used by Chinese troops on the mainland.

On the sidelines, guests wearing “I love police” t-shirts posed for selfies with a bear mascot dressed in a tactical uniform.

Pupils examine a submachine gun while elsewhere classrooms were decked out in pro-Beijing messages
Pupils examine a submachine gun while elsewhere classrooms were decked out in pro-Beijing messages

Cuddly toy versions of the bear were also on sale for HK$400 (£38) alongside plastic toys of riot police officers holding shotguns and tear gas warning flags.

At a morning ceremony attended by senior officials, Luo Huining, Beijing's top envoy in Hong Kong, gave a fiery speech vowing to “strike down hard resistance and regulate soft resistance”.

Students were a key part of Hong Kong's fading protest movement and authorities have sought overhauls of the curriculum as they seek to instil broad fealty to the Communist Party.

"I wish China can be stronger and I support the national security law,” one pupil was shown to have written on their school billboard.

However, elder pupils said the 'brainwashing' would not work across all classes.

“I feel it’s meaningless to have the day,” one student from a government school, who refused to give her full identity, told the Telegraph. “No matter how many activities the government plan to do, it won’t change people’s minds that the government is not trustworthy.”

“But I’m worried about the junior students who may be brainwashed by these events if more events other than quizzes creep into schools.”

Four democracy activists meanwhile held a lonely rally flanked by dozens of police officers on Thursday morning as they condemned Beijing's security law, which threatens life imprisonment for a range of hazily-defined crimes including subversion and collusion with foreign forces.

"It has been used as a tool and a weapon to deprive us of our rights, to silence all dissent, to stop us from protesting, demonstrating, from forming organisations," activist Chow Hang-tung told reporters.