Hong Kong university students must take National Security Law course to graduate

Students at Hong Kong’s most prestigious university will be required to take a course on Beijing’s national security law in order to graduate, the latest sign of China’s growing influence on the city.

The online course, titled “Introduction to the Constitution, the Basic Law and the National Security Law,” will become a graduation requirement at the University of Hong Kong from the coming school year, according to a spokesperson for the school.

“This course will be conducted in a self-directed learning approach. Students can take the course in any semester throughout their period of study,” the university said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

The new course offers no credit but signals an effort to explain the controversial law -- and the consequences for running afoul of it -- to a demographic that was at the forefront of the 2019 street protests that prompted the legislation.

The law, which criminalizes subversion, secession, colluding with foreign forces, and terrorist activities, purged the political opposition and led to the closure of the city’s most prominent pro-democracy media outlets.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University will also be offering national security classes, Ming Pao reported. The newspaper said schools can plan their own courses.