In mid-June, CCTV aired a historical series called China in Classics, which uses computer-generated imaging to bring to life ancient literary giants who made significant contributions to the cultural treasure trove that is the Chinese civilization, and to discuss their works in the context of the time with the host on TV. The first iconic figure is, of course, Confucius the sage, whose teachings laid the philosophical and moral foundations for China’s dynastic feudal rule for over two millennia. Studying The Analects of Confucius is a requirement in most if not all schools and colleges in China for obvious reasons. I think of Confucius as a teacher for all ages, and his philosophy sheds light on the ongoing debate over rising public demand for the abolishment of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union from a historical perspective.
Xinhua News Agency published a commentary last week describing the HKPTU as a malignant tumor that must be eradicated to protect the foundation of Hong Kong’s education. In the Wei Zheng chapter from The Analects of Confucius, the Master said, “If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame. If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.” Confucius had an insight into criminal law more than 2,000 years ago. The law can prevent negative behavior, but it cannot produce positive behavior. If you use morality to guide the people and use etiquette to regulate their mind, the people not only have a sense of shame, but also feel proud of abiding by the law.
Teachers are obligated to set examples of human character and civil excellence for their students to carry on the ethical and moral traditions of the society. The rule of law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is well-regarded internationally and cherished by Hong Kong residents for very good reasons, not the least of which is the SAR’s impressive high rankings in many authoritative charts — such as the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index — over the years
For the governance of a country or region, the rule of law and the rule of morality have always been complementary. The rule of law is the framework and boundaries set by politics, and the rule of morality is to practice humanistic care and support and guide the people. The rule of law and the rule of morality are the responsibility of not only the government but also of every family, school and society. The people should be ashamed of breaking the law and proud of abiding by the law. However, in June 2019, when the HKSAR government and the Legislative Council were drafting the Extradition Law Amendment Bill, the HKPTU launched a political campaign called “boycott school but not teaching” in Hong Kong, complete with a set of “teaching materials” full of misinformation about the extradition law amendment bill. To inculcate the biased and radical thinking of “opposing the bill that sends people to the Chinese mainland” to primary and secondary school students in an all-around way, the HKPTU even produced elementary school teaching plans, including classroom videos of street protest advocating separatism. What’s more, some so-called legal professionals have published The Common Sense of Laws that Children Must Know in an attempt to cultivate a sense of lawlessness among innocent schoolchildren and the shameless assumption that laws are made to be broken. It also advocates that those who know how to avoid criminal justice are the “smart ones”. The HKPTU is no doubt the consummate purveyor of criminal aptitude among the younger generation to serve its own subversive agenda. To make the situation worse, some brainwashed teachers followed the HKPTU’s orders to the letter. The HKPTU not only demonized the bill as an “evil law” but went further by leading young students to assume that it is OK to break the law for certain political beliefs or agenda. The total number of students arrested for participating in illegal activities related to the anti-extradition law amendment bill campaign reached 3,974, including 1,747 minors. The HKPTU single-handedly corrupted the minds of so many youths that it must be held responsible for turning them into criminal offenders and even fugitives, ruining their lives and futures.
Another iconic scholar in ancient China, Han Yu, from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), is quoted as saying in his book On Teaching: “A teacher is one who transmits knowledge, provides for study and dispels confusion. To teach is to sow seeds for the future of the country.” For years, however, the HKPTU has used its members to conduct political brainwashing in primary and secondary schools throughout the city, resulting in serious poisoning of numerous young minds with tragic consequences.
Teachers are obligated to set examples of human character and civil excellence for their students to carry on the ethical and moral traditions of the society. The rule of law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is well-regarded internationally and cherished by Hong Kong residents for very good reasons, not the least of which is the SAR’s impressive high rankings in many authoritative charts — such as the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index — over the years. This undeniable fact leaves the HKPTU guilty of inciting illegal acts aimed at undermining national security and subverting State power while eroding the spirit of the rule of law by hoodwinking school students into becoming morally corrupt outlaws. That is why the HKPTU must be uprooted and destroyed to save the future of Hong Kong!
The author is a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
HONG KONG NEWS