Students at Hong Kong’s most prestigious university will have to take a course on Beijing’s national security law in order to graduate, the latest sign of China’s growing influence over the city.
The online course, titled “Introduction to the Constitution, Basic Law and National Security Law,” will become a requirement for graduation at the University of Hong Kong from next academic year, according to a school spokesperson.
“This course will be conducted using a self-directed learning approach. Students can take the course any semester throughout their study period,” the university said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg.
The new course offers no credit, but signals an effort to explain the controversial law — and the consequences of breaking it — to a demographic that was at the forefront of the 2019 street protests that motivated the legislation.
The law, which criminalizes subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist activities, purged the political opposition and led to the closure of the city’s main pro-democracy media outlets.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Hong Kong Polytechnic University will also offer national security courses, Ming Pao said. The newspaper said schools can plan their own lessons.