New textbooks for Hong Kong schools will state that the territory was never a British colony, as per local media reports.
Instead, the books will declare the British “only exercised colonial rule” in Hong Kong – a distinction drawn to highlight China’s claims of unbroken sovereignty, BBC reported.
China has always asserted it never gave up sovereignty and its surrender of Hong Kong to the British was due to unfair Opium War treaties in the 1800s.
The UK returned Hong Kong to China in 1997 after ruling for over 150 years.
During its rule, it referred to Hong Kong – a port with a deep harbour that grew into a booming city state, and one of the world’s leading financial centres – as a colony, as well as a dependent territory.
The United Kingdom governed the area from 1841 to 1941, and from 1945 to 1997, after which it was handed back to China, BBC reported.
The new textbooks take pains to explain the differences between a colony and colonial rule – with the texts declaring that for a country to call an external territory a colony it needs to have sovereignty as well as governance over the area.
In the case of Hong Kong, the British “only exercised colonial rule… so Hong Kong is not a British colony”, the textbooks say, according to local media reports.
The books have been drawn up for a specific course to be taught in Hong Kong schools focusing on citizenship ideals, lawfulness and patriotism, BBC reported.