Macau (MNA) – On January 8, the Chinese Ministry of Education announced that it would allow teachers trained in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan to take exams that would qualify them to teach in Mainland China.
But in order to join this teaching scheme, applicants must ‘voluntarily uphold the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), adhere to the direction of socialist education and implement the party’s educational policy’.
MNA spoke to local secondary school teacher Alfred Wai on Monday and asked whether he would participate in this scheme.
“Yes, but no. To answer ‘No’, I need to go back to my goal [of why I wanted to be] a teacher. I became a teacher because I want to help kids and teenagers to develop properly. I would like to see them grow up to be useful individuals. And Macau is my hometown. Of course I would like to stay in Macau and do my best to contribute to my city. Also, since my whole family is in Macau, I don’t think I would leave them and go work in China. However, I am not [opposed] to working in China,” said Mr. Wai.
Local and Hong Kong scholars have raised concerns raised that the scheme is just a bid by Beijing to garner more loyal citizens from its special administrative regions, namely Hong Kong and Macau, as well as the separately governed democratic island of Taiwan.
But Mr. Wai believes that politics must stay out of teaching to help further the greater good of education in and of itself.
“In my opinion, Macau [has] always belonged [as a] part of China. Macau is a special administrative region of China. We cannot change the facts. And in this case, I don’t think there is too much about politics. Well, in Macau and maybe also Hong Kong, I believe there are some teachers, especially professors, hired from Mainland China,” Mr. Wai told MNA.
“If allowing teachers to teach in Mainland China is the way to garner ‘voluntary’ support for its leadership, does it mean that Macau and Hong Kong are asking to become part of China when they hire professionals from China?” he questions.
“It is also happening in other fields, for example, [medical students] who studied in Mainland China are able to come back and take the exams in Macau to become a doctor here. This [has been] happening for a long period of time”.
According to a report by Radio Free Asia (RFA), the education ministry has been rolling out major United Front operations across university campuses in Mainland China, ‘announcing a list of 20 elite institutions charged with setting up “study centres” for party ideology.’
Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Renmin University are part of six Beijing universities on the list, the Global Times newspaper reported.
A study by the United States Economic and Security Review Commission defines ‘United Front’ work as the CCP’s method to ‘co-opt and neutralise sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling party, which President Xi Jinping has placed a great emphasis on since assuming office in 2012.
Critics say the United Front work includes the rolling out in September of last year a Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan Residence Permit Application Policy.