The Re-Education of Hong Kong

HONG KONG – After less than 100 days in office, C.Y. Leung, Hong Kong’s new Chief Executive, is already in political intensive care. In record time, he has managed to lose his veneer of competence, credibility, and steely leadership.

One of his cabinet appointees was arrested for corruption within two weeks of Leung’s assumption of his official duties. Another was found to have been a slumlord who owned illegal cage-like flats that he blamed entirely on his wife, denying any involvement whatsoever. Leung himself was caught with several illegal structures in his house, a violation that he exploited successfully against his rival, Henry Tang, in the election campaign.

Leung has also distinguished himself by inciting a large swathe of school teachers and students to stage massive street protests against his hasty effort to insert a “national education” program into the school curriculum in order to “reconnect” Hong Kong’s young people with the motherland. For tens of thousands of student protesters, many with their parents in tow, the potential death of an honest education was too much to bear.

The goal of the program, inherited from the previous administration, is a good one: expand knowledge among the young about modern China. But, as Tang correctly pointed out in response to a question about the protests, the “devil is in the details.”