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HK diocese promotes ‘national identity’, security law in Catholic schools

Wing Choh Primary school, and Catholic Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Hong Kong. Credit: Claudine Van Massenhove/Shutterstock

CNA Staff, Aug 11, 2020 / 11:00 am MT (CNA).- Catholic schools in Hong Kong have been told to explain the provisions of the new National Security Law and encourage patriotic values to students, according to the text of a letter sent by the Diocese of Hong Kong to nearly 200 schools.

The letter, signed by Peter Lau Chiu Yin, a layman who serves as the Episcopal Delegate for Education in the diocese, was addressed to principles and leaders of all Catholic primary and secondary schools and was first reported by the Hong Kong news service RTHK last week.

The schools are advised to offer instruction to students on the provisions of the National Security Law which came into force on July 1 of this year.

The new law criminalizes new categories of “secession,” “subversion,” “terrorism” and “collusion with foreign forces.” Anyone convicted under the law will receive a minimum of 10 years in prison, with the possibility of a life sentence. It was imposed on Hong Kong by the mainland legislature, bypassing Hong Kong’s own legislative process.

As part of helping students understand the new law’s provisions, teachers are to “foster the correct values on [students’] national identity” and to respect Chinese national symbols including the flag and national anthem, the letter said.

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