National identity education in Hong Kong

Wing On LEE

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


National identity has been a sensitive and controversial issue in Hong Kong. During its colonial period, national identity was barely mentioned or touched upon in the curriculum and public discourse, as Hong Kong was a territory adjacent to its giant motherland, while being a territory under a colonial sovereignty. Also, while politically Hong Kong was under a foreign soeverignty, its daily subsistence had to be supplied by its motherland, and even the quota of people to be allowed for boarding from across the boarder had to be agreed by the two governments. That is, although Hong Kong was politically under one soverignty, it was de facto co-ruled by two sovereignties. Culturally, while the English language was official language, the daily lingua franca was Cantonese, and Chinese was recognised as an official language as a result of the Chinese language campaigns in the seventies. Hong Kong's handover to the Chinese sovereignty made the issue of national identity surfaced. While politically, Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty, its long-standing colonial history has created a Hong Kong identity among Hong Kong people. Hence, the identity of Hong Kong became a complicated issue, ranging to four types of idenities: Chinese, Chinese Hong Konger, Hong Kong Chinese and Hong Kongers. This paper discusses the complexities of national identity in Hong Kong, and their implications for citizenship education in the territory.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


Lee, W. O. (2008, July). National identity education in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the 4th CITIZED International Conference: Researching Citizenship Education: Principles, Policies and Practice, Cambridge, England.


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