Hong Kong journalists to get "lessons in patriotism" to China

Other News Materials 15 April 2008 10:37

(dpa) - Hong Kong journalists may get "lessons in patriotism" to give them a greater sense of national identity under proposals contained in an official report circulated Tuesday.

Chinese state TV channels may also be broadcast in the former British colony to give its sometimes restive 6.9 million citizens more of a sense of belonging to China, the report suggests.

The proposals have alarmed some democratic legislators who fear they are an attempt to brainwash people and introduce Beijing-style controls on TV and newspapers in Hong Kong, which enjoys greater freedom than the rest of China.

The report has been drawn up by a taskforce set up by Hong Kong's Beijing-appointed administration in response to an appeal for more "national education" in the city by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Hu, apparently troubled by the city's independent streak and mass pro-democracy marches, made the appeal when he visited Hong Kong for the 10th anniversary of its return to Chinese sovereignty last year.

The taskforce - which is being considered by Hong Kong's government - recommends that journalists, civil servants, youth workers and teachers should be targeted for "cultivation of a greater sense of national identity."

It recommends that the media should play a "significant role" in the promotion of national education and suggests that free Chinese state TV should be aired in Hong Kong.

China's CCTV state channels - privately ridiculed within China for broadcasting a stream of dull propaganda and one-sided news - would give Hong Kong people "a better understanding of national affairs," the report argues.

Hong Kong's government has already introduced the playing of the Chinese national anthem before nightly news bulletins and flag-raising ceremonies to try to increase patriotism in the city.

Opinion polls indicate that while fewer Hong Kong people now look down on people from mainland China as "country cousins," most people in the wealthy territory see themselves as Hong Kongers rather than Chinese.