Hong Kong Socialist Experimentation in the Colonial Era: Patriotic Schools, 1946–1976

Chui Shan Lau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
77 Downloads (Pure)


This article describes an autonomous force that existed in the school system during the Hong Kong colonial period from 1946 to 1976. In the colonial period, pro-Beijing patriotic schools served as a subordinate culture within schools and attempted to construct an alternative, socialist and People's Republic of China-centred (PRC-centred) identity by providing affordable education for ordinary people. This sociological-historical study provides an understanding of how these schools constructed an alternative culture that opposed the colonial government. It explores and records the socio-political background in which Hong Kong pro-Beijing 'patriots' (socialists/leftists) set up education for children, the social history of the patriotic faction and its schools, the teaching and learning methods and the socialist strategies of patriotic education in colonial Hong Kong. The study illustrates the interplay between politics and education through a case study of pro-Beijing patriotic schools in Hong Kong. Pro-Beijing patriotic schools were the only type of school that prepared students for the eventual rule of the PRC after the 1940s. The patriotic schools, together with other PRC-affiliated organizations, represented the influence of the PRC in Hong Kong. It was part of an organized process that was intended to shape consciousness systematically, develop knowledge and form attitudes. The interplay between socio-political development and education enables us to rethink the role that schools could and should play in present day Hong Kong.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalChina Report
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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