Toward Critical Patriotism

Student Resistance to Political Education in Hong Kong and China


Gregory P. Fairbrother

ISBN : 978-962-209-622-6

Education Hong Kong Culture and Society

June 2003

232 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$295.00

Also available in Paperback HK$165.00

This book considers, in the context of political education in China and colonial Hong Kong, the effects of critical thinking on university students’ attitudes toward the nation. Its objective is to understand how students’ attitudes toward patriotism diverge from those held by the majority.

The author uses a combination of documentary sources, interviews, ethnographic fieldwork and observation at secondary schools to address the central question of the effects of a depoliticized civic education curriculum versus a system which promotes patriotism through education. He then is able to examine the relative successes of each system in legitimizing their respective governments.

Gregory P. Fairbrother is a research associate affiliated with the School of Foundations in Education and the Centre for Citizenship Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.

“Greg Fairbrother has produced a rare and insightful work which will be of enormous interest not only to academics, but also to policymakers and practitioners. He is able to show both how and why the regime has been successful in its efforts to recover legitimacy from the Tiananmen disaster of 1989.” —Stanley Rosen, Professor of Political Science, The University of Southern California

“This highly sophisticated study, drawing upon the results of a carefully designed survey as well as interview data, gives readers a picture of a new generation whose education has stimulated critical thinking, curiosity and forms of patriotism that are tempered by a healthy skepticism. This is essential reading for all who are concerned about the possibilities of democracy in the world’s most populous nation.” —Ruth Hayhoe, Professor, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto and President Emerita, The Hong Kong Institute of Education