Hong Kong is marking its first “Nationwide Safety Schooling Day” to advertise a sweeping regulation that Beijing imposed on the semi-autonomous territory final yr.

Kids as younger as three years previous had been amongst these studying concerning the nationwide safety regulation, the South China Morning Put up reported on Thursday, whereas authorities invited folks throughout town to create “mosaic partitions” with messages of help or smiling footage of themselves at cultural centres and colleges.

Police and different safety forces are anticipated to carry a parade performing the Chinese language army’s “goose step” march later within the day.

Hong Kong’s authorities mentioned Thursday’s occasions had been geared toward making a “constructive ambiance of nationwide safety” and deepening metropolis residents’ understanding of the nationwide safety regulation in addition to China’s structure and town’s mini-constitution.

The widely-criticised safety laws, launched in June final yr, punishes something Beijing deems subversion, secession, “terrorism” or collusion with overseas forces with as much as life in jail.

For the reason that regulation was imposed, greater than 100 folks have been arrested on allegations of undermining nationwide safety.

Individuals stand in entrance of a display screen exhibiting Chinese language and Hong Kong flags throughout a ceremony marking the Nationwide Safety Schooling Day in Hong Kong, China, April 15, 2021 [Lam Yik/ Reuters]

Within the run-up to the celebrations, stickers and bookmarks studying “Uphold Nationwide Safety, Safeguard our Residence” had been delivered to varsities and kindergartens, in keeping with media reviews.

“We hope to show kindergarten pupils concerning the appropriate understanding of Nationwide Safety Schooling Day, as an illustration, by way of nationwide id, we’re Chinese language folks dwelling in Hong Kong,” the pinnacle of 1 kindergarten, Nancy Lam Chui-ling, advised the South China Morning Put up.

“Nationwide safety regulation ideas are certainly troublesome to show to kindergarten youngsters. That’s why we hope to nurture them at a younger age about constructive values, to allow them to distinguish between black and white after they develop up,” she mentioned.

‘Assist! Assist! Assist!’

On the Wong Cho Bau Secondary College within the metropolis, college students gathered for a flag-raising ceremony.

“As a Chinese language individual, as Hong Kong folks, what we have to do is to be ready, and exert ourselves, for the nation,” head trainer Hui Chun Lung advised college students.

Hui confused the “stability” the safety regulation dropped at town, earlier than a two-minute video exhibiting totally different college students expressing help for the laws was performed.

College students then lined as much as stick “want playing cards” on a mosaic wall.

“Supporting the nationwide safety regulation is just not a problem. Assist! Assist! Assist! I hope we could be one with the mainland,” wrote one scholar.

A number of colleges additionally held quizzes and exhibition on the significance of nationwide safety, in keeping with native media.

There have been protests, too.

The RTHK broadcaster mentioned 4 pro-democracy activists staged a march by means of a central metropolis district, demanding common suffrage and the rights to free speech and affiliation.

“We can’t let the federal government dominate what is supposed by nationwide safety,” protester Chow Dangle-tung advised reporters. “A nation exists for its folks – it doesn’t exist to suppress its folks and deprive them of their rights.”

She mentioned Beijing’s crackdown was eroding tutorial and press freedoms and forcing many Hong Kong folks to both migrate or go into exile.

“Every little thing’s been in decline,” she mentioned, describing the regulation as a “weapon of mass destruction” for Hong Kong.

Beijing imposed the brand new regulation on Hong Kong after anti-government and anti-China protests roiled the territory, with among the most violent clashes erupting on college campuses. Critics say the laws curbs rights and freedoms within the former British colony, which was promised a excessive diploma of autonomy on its return to Chinese language rule in 1997.

Its supporters in China and Hong Kong say the regulation has restored “order” within the metropolis.

The US, United Kingdom and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Chinese language and Hong Kong officers over the laws, in addition to measures taken to cut back democratic illustration within the metropolis’s establishments.

China has retaliated with sanctions of its personal, whereas Luo Huining, Beijing’s prime consultant in Hong Kong mentioned on Thursday that any overseas powers that attempt to use town as a pawn will face additional countermeasures.

“We are going to give a lesson to all overseas forces which intend to make use of Hong Kong as a pawn,” Luo mentioned at a ceremony to mark the Nationwide Safety Schooling Day.

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