National Security Education in China and Hong Kong

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“Strengthening the people’s awareness of national security is an essential and long-term measure for safeguarding national security,” in the words of the Ministry of State Security (MSS), China’s premier spy agency, as posted on WeChat.

April 15 marked the 9th annual National Security Education Day in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The government program “aims at raising the public awareness of national security, creating a positive atmosphere of safeguarding national security, [and] enhancing the capacity to prevent and avert national security risks.” In addition to national security, the program includes lessons on national law, such as the Constitution. Specialized programs in Hong Kong focus on the Basic Law (Hong Kong’s mini constitution), national security, and fostering a sense of national identity.

Since the passage of the National Security Law of the People’s Republic of China in 2015, and its implementation in Hong Kong in 2020, Beijing has accelerated the integration of the Separately Administered Region (SAR) into the PRC. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has focused on eroding Hong Kong’s separate identity, emphasizing its residents’ status as PRC citizens. Government websites targeting Hong Kong explain in English that by participating in National Security Education Day, it is hoped that Hong Kong residents “will have a better understanding of the importance of national security to the country, to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and to every Hong Kong citizen.” They also remind residents to be good communists, stating “every member of the public shall perform their civic duty and work together to safeguard national security.”

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