Thousands including teachers and parents pushing strollers took to Hong Kong streets Sunday, July 29 to protest the upcoming introduction of Chinese patriotism classes they fear will lead to brainwashing, the latest sign of growing discomfort overBeijing’s influence on the semiautonomous territory, according to The Associated Press.
Students and pro-democracy activists were among those who marched to the Hong Kong government’s headquarters to protest the new curriculum, which authorities are encouraging schools to begin using when classes resume in September.
They fear the classes will be used to brainwash children into supporting China’s Communist Party. The government has denied that and says they are aimed at building Chinese national pride.
The protest is the latest sign of growing discontent in Hong Kong over mainland China’s increasing influence 15 years after the freewheeling financial center was returned to China by Britain after more than a century of colonial rule. Tensions have also been stoked by growing economic inequality and as well as an influx of free-spending wealthy Chinese, who are seen as driving up property prices and shop rents.