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Hong Kong Reporter Goes Undercover on Mainland ‘Brainwashing Tour’
By John Wang and Annie Wu Epoch Times Staff
A reporter from the Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily recently went undercover as a university student to attend a mainland China tour organized by Hong Kong youth groups. In his article for Apple Daily, the reporter recounted what he called a “brainwashing tour,” revealing an itinerary filled with activities meant to encourage fervent nationalism and promote the Chinese’s regime propaganda.
The tour was organized by 10 local organizations, including youth groups like the Hong Kong Youth Exchange Promotion United Association and the Hong Kong-Taiwan Youth Exchange Promotion Association. Wang Zhimin, who is deputy director of the liaison office in Hong Kong, serves as the honorary adviser. The liaison office is equivalent to an embassy and is an organ of the Chinese communist regime.
The seven-day tour was named Love My China with 400 youths from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, and mainland China participating.
The Apple Daily reporter, whose name was not disclosed, recounted how the participants were frequently directed to shout the slogan Love My China. At their first stop in Taiyuan City, capital of north-central China’s Shanxi Province, the participants sat down to a banquet with local communist officials, including two National People’s Congress representatives.
When the tour group leader started off the slogan with “Love my … ” and the tour participants would respond with “China!” The reporter did not want to join in, but a nearby team leader signaled to him to shout along.
According to the tour group leader, “Love My China” is already a brand name, and during the past 11 years, there have been many such exchange tours to nurture Hong Kong students’ love for the motherland.
The tour group also visited four model state-run factories. They first visited an iron and steel plant in Taiyuan. The factory tour guide praised the Communist Party’s achievements after the “opening-up and reform” policies began.
The tour group also visited a coal museum. The museum guide told the tour participants that China’s coal mines were very safe, without mentioning a word about the coal mine accidents frequently seen in news headlines.
A medical worker stands outside the entrance to the Wangjialing coal mine where more than 110 workers were pulled out alive from the flooded mine being built in northern China’s Shanxi province on April 5, 2010. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)
China’s mines are generally considered the deadliest in the world, although there is a wide discrepancy between official and unofficial accounting of the death toll. In 2007, human rights activist Robin Munro working for the China Labor Bulletin estimated China’s coal mining has 20,000 deaths per year. A 2012 article in the regime mouthpiece Xinhua reported that in the first half of 2011, China had 1,973 coal mining fatalities in 2011.
The reporter was able to record footage of the tour group’s activities on tape, which was compiled into an Apple Daily news video. A fellow tour participant said in the video: “The coal factories and mines would be described as very powerful, but they would not mention explosions or workers getting hurt. My feeling is that they treat us as if we have backward thinking, that we can be easily brainwashed.”
One hundred twenty university students from Xian City, including some young Communist Party members, were also invited to do an “exchange” with Hong Kong students. The reporter recalled that one Party member told him that single-party rule is the only way to maintain long-term stability.
“The power of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) comes from the barrel of a gun. They can’t just hand over the state to others,” the CCP member said.
The CCP members also claimed that Hong Kong people do not know the truth about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. One CCP member told the reporter that the police were forced to crack down on the students because many of them killed police officers.
“They [the students] skinned the policemen and hung them on the city gates. So the soldiers were forced to take action,” the CCP member said.
The tour also arranged for participants to have their pictures taken with the CCP Party secretary of Shanxi Province. When the Party secretary arrived, the youths were ordered to shout the Love My China slogan.
Just two weeks ago on July 29, 90,000 Hong Kong residents took to the streets to protest increasing Chinese Communist influence on their affairs. Earlier, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government announced the addition of a “moral and national education course” to the primary school curriculum, which aims to teach students about Communist ideology.