History exam question inflames Hong Kong again

An uproar is growing in Hong Kong society again over a controversial exam question, which was deleted from high school test papers after intervention by the government last week. Here is a good explainer of the issue (SCMP), which relates to the relationship between China and Japan from 1900 to 1945.  

Yesterday, the deputy head of the Education Bureau said, “On major issues of right and wrong, such as invasions, massacres and ethnic cleansing, we should never lead students in their basic education stage to discuss their positive values.” (SCMP) 

Meanwhile, CE Carrie Lam has waded in with an interview in a conservative newspaper, drawing fire from Hong Kong’s biggest teachers’ union, which urged her to apologize and withdraw her “insulting” comments. (SCMP) She had urged school managers to help guard against pupils being affected by “fallacious arguments”, warning that “some people have intentionally infused various subjects with misconceptions”.

The crux of the issue seems to be whether the question is “leading”. Some have called for a scientific analysis of the question by looking at the results of the exam: if it, in fact, led students to critically examine the issue or not. Others have said this is secondary to the consideration of the damage the question has done to the feelings of Chinese people who were impacted by Japan’s invasion of China during the period.

The controversy is expected to continue this week. Stay tuned.

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