Schools to see $50m in push for reading

An annual reading subsidy totaling HK$50 million will be distributed to all kindergartens as well as primary and secondary schools in order to promote reading, Secretary for Education Christine Choi Yuk-lin said.

Another HK$10 million will be offered to kindergartens for fostering better reading environments via measures such as enhancing school libraries and hosting reading activities.

While speaking at the book fair yesterday, Choi said that in addition to the subsidies, her bureau will gift all schools a book titled China Is My Home.

By helping students better understand Chinese history and culture, she said, the book will ideally cultivate a sense of national belonging. Choi added that her bureau "will join hands with the Security Bureau to distribute the picture book and nurture students' awareness and sense of responsibility to our country's national safety via different themes and illustrations of real-life scenarios."

She concluded: "Children who love reading won't stray far."

Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung also addressed the topic of youth education while attending the fair. He said many youths were provoked by "foreign forces" to sabotage Hong Kong during the 2019 anti-fugitive bill movement and have eventually faced consequences for it, adding it is unrealistic to achieve democracy through violence.

Tang also called on youngsters to stay on guard against any acts that may hinder national security. When a primary student asked how they can do so, Tang said the best way is to understand national security, obey the law and remain united against "foreign forces."

The fair yesterday saw long queues and large crowds despite temperatures reaching as high as 36 degrees Celsius.

Several publishers said they were confident in their sales as the crowd appeared to have doubled on the weekend. Many were spotted holding suitcases to carry their purchases.

The news came as former liberal studies teacher Raymond Yeung Tsz-chun - who suffered partial sight loss after his right eye was injured by a tear gas canister during a protest on June 12, 2019 - said he will plead guilty to attending an illegal assembly in his hearing next month.

Yeung was arrested in April and later granted bail for HK$10,000.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Yeung said he has never denied his presence at the June 12 protest, adding that his lawyer and family all support his decision to plead guilty.