Political actions in apolitical disguise

Year: 2012

Author: Lam, Ka-ka

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


With the establishment of the People's Republic of China in October 1949, the colonial regime of Hong Kong was well aware that any provocation against China would immediately result in the latter's backlash. However, the colonial regime's uneasiness was augmented by the fact that China was then under a strong government. The regime thus became more alert of the 'patriotic schools,' and took more highhanded measures toward the latter. At that time, nearly all the authority exercised by the colonial regime toward those schools were of a coercive nature, other strategies such as lure by benefit offers, manipulating, persuasion were rarely employed.

The colonial regime, apart from setting up a special unit to analyze the mode of Communist education and propaganda, had taken several measures to strengthen its control over schools and education. They stepped up school inspection, set up a committee to be in charge of matters concerning textbook and curriculum, and adopted Civics as a school and examination subject. Moreover, the colonial government had implemented a succession of amendments to the Education Ordinance so as to enhance its power resource, which was a very crucial move.

The colonial regime then transformed their power resources into the employment of power. The education authority exercised 'non-violent coercive power' in ways such as holding back the subsidy to schools, or invalidating teachers' license. At the same time, the education authority also collaborated with the police in exercising 'violent coercive power' in ways such as searching schools or withdrawing school registration, so as to deal with the issue of political infultration by the Communist's in schools.