Chinese history (a subject entirely separate and distinct from 'history') has long been the most politically sensitive subject in Hong Kong's school curriculum. Previous studies have analysed the policies of the colonial and postcolonial Governments towards this subject. Here, we examine the role played by the Chinese history subject community (comprising teachers, academics and officials in the Government's educational bureaucracy), and look at the way in which this has operated as an autonomous interest group. We conclude that the influence of this subject community has been a key factor limiting the extent to which the local educational authorities have been able to develop a coherent policy in relation to history education in general, and the teaching of national history in particular. Specifically, advocates of the maintenance of Chinese history as a separate subject within the school curriculum have been able, by associating themselves with the post-1997 agenda of 'patriotic education', to effectively hoist the local educational bureaucracy with its own petard.
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