Thursday 23 June 2011

To Teach Torture Or Not To Teach Torture

Should we be surprised by the survey (see 2 news stories below) that found local teachers agree with the use of torture in police investigations and believe social stability should come before individual liberties?

Local teachers are generally a conservative bunch and Chinese teachings do lend themselves to being relatively more disciplinarian (e.g. look at the Tiger Mom fallout).

It is also interesting that a researcher has described this value as "believing in a mainland way".

Who teaches the teachers? Who judges the teachers (foreigners or locals)? Who investigates the researchers?

Reference: Rights beliefs of teachers far from liberal (The Standard)
Friday, June 10, 2011

Students are set to develop a rather skewed view of both civil and human rights, if the opinions of several teachers are anything to go by.

A survey of 791 liberal studies teachers from 255 schools last year saw more than a third backing police use of torture to get confessions, while nearly half felt courts should pay more heed to public opinion than the rule of law.

Leung Yan-wing, who led the survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Education, blamed the results on conservatism among some teachers and the apparent apathy to human rights over the past 10 years.

The survey laid special stress on liberal studies - introduced as a compulsory subject in all secondary schools under the new 3-3-4 system but one without a fixed syllabus.

Leung said the results are shocking and reflect how the rights awareness of generations to come may be eroded.

"I am very worried about the mind- sets of teachers and how this will affect the next generation," he said.

Leung suggested that after the promised universal suffrage comes into effect in 2017, the government pay more attention to how teachers think and what is being taught in schools.

Sun Kei Secondary School liberal studies teacher Hui Shing-yau urged firmer guidelines on the subject.


Reference: Torture 'acceptable' to many teachers (SCMP; paywall)
Survey finds many liberal studies instructors value social stability over personal freedoms
Dennis Chong
Jun 09, 2011

Many of Hong Kong's liberal studies teachers find the use of torture acceptable in police investigations and believe social stability should come before individual liberties, according to a survey result described as shocking by a teachers' union.

The survey, conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Education and sponsored by the Quality Education Fund, interviewed more than 700 liberal studies teachers from 255 secondary schools last year.

It found that 35 per cent of the teachers agreed that the use of torture by police in obtaining evidence was acceptable, while half said they were willing to give up personal liberties for social stability.

Fung Wai-wah, chairman of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union, described the findings as shocking. "It is indisputable that torture should not be used during interrogation. We ought to find out why there is such a belief among teachers," he said.

Education sector legislator Cheung Man-kwong said the result pointed to a gap in the education system. "Civic education should focus on universal values. We should not give up on these values," he said. "Teachers should know of and insist on these values so they can teach students to insist on them themselves."

Liberal studies entered the senior secondary academic structure during a review of the education system and became a compulsory subject for those studying for the Diploma of Secondary Education. The first batch of pupils started the subject in 2009.

Unlike languages, science and other mainstream subjects, the teachers do not have a fixed syllabus and critics have complained about the ambiguity of subject guidelines.

Researcher Leung Yan-wing, from the institute's centre for governance and citizenship, said the findings reflected the fact that some teachers were conservative.

"There are more open-minded teachers but as a matter of fact there are also a group of people who believe in the mainland way," Fung said, adding that society should guard against erosion of the fundamental values of democracy and human rights.


  1. aimlesswanderer24 June 2011 at 17:28

    Article written by Pearlie!

    The CCP will be patting the heads of their local lackeys. The CCP obviously should be able to do anything to anyone if they say it's for society's (the CCP's) benefit.

    Shouldn't confuse the kiddies! Superfluous ideas like human rights, bah. Patriotic/CCP Indoctrination much more important.

  2. Thanks AW. Yes, Pearlie will be mentioned sooner or later, and will have her own novel name number!

    Isn't self-censorship a powerful and dangerous thing? Authoritarian and Totalitarian governments must love it when their local lackeys do all the work for them!

  3. aimlesswanderer27 June 2011 at 20:23

    Sure, no need wave the stick, just the threat of it (and quiet whispers) get the desired result. Much cleaner, and no embarrassing documents to be leaked.

    Wossisname, the Donald, must be a shoo in for another term, and the education secretary must be in line for a promotion to police or justice minister. He will have plenty of 'reeducation' to do there to smooth the way for more CCP friendly ideas.

  4. Self-censorship is a wonderful thing, lol.

    Donald Duck (since Tsang was the one who pushed forth the HK Disneyland project) will not be up for, ahem, "election" since he has technically been in for 2 terms. This is why he is now considered a lame duck (pun intended!!) and the political and media machinations are moving towards looking at potential candidates (all of whom have denied that they are interested in the Chief Executive position). Oh what fun!

  5. aimlesswanderer4 July 2011 at 20:20

    Yeah, Beijing must be looking for a suitably well known, pliable lap dog who will slowly and subtly roll back troublesome "freedoms" and bend over on cue. I hear the position pays well, and comes with plenty of perks.

  6. The position pays extremely and outrageously well. The salary is more than what the US president and the British prime minister earns. I am not sure how much the Chinese president earns, but I would not be surprised if the HK Chief Executive tops that too.

  7. aimlesswanderer10 July 2011 at 15:21

    Clearly the CE needs the extra money to support his wife and mistresses shopping habits.

    I guess that the "unofficial" benefits that CCP high ups get (but also their friends and relatives) more than make up for any salary gap!

  8. The wife of the first CE of Hong Kong, Tung Chee-hwa who now sits comfortably in the NPC, had a penchant for always sitting on seat A1 of all their flights. When someone had already booked that seat, she (Betty Tung) was known to make a fuss and demand that she get that seat number. I guess that's what some of the money is used for.

    Having mistresses can be pretty costly! Lol.

  9. aimlesswanderer19 July 2011 at 19:57

    It's a good scam, err, gig if you can get it. Sets you up for life, as long as you don't rock the boat.

    She should have gotten her husband to pass a law so that she could get police to arrest any upstart peasants who dared to sit in her seat!