China’s Tsinghua University will require students from Hong Kong and Macao to undergo a mandatory three-week military training programme in a move that has been seen as a way for Beijing to tighten its grip over its special administrative regions.
It is already compulsory for first-year students from mainland China to undergo the training. From this autumn, incoming students from Hong Kong and Macao will also have to take part. It was previously voluntary for these students.
Under Chinese law, military training is mandatory for high school and university students.
According to local news reports, the training will consist of 10km runs, orienteering, survival training, target practice, fire drills and first aid, and students will also stage an “anti-terrorism exercise”.
Lau Siu-kai, emeritus professor of sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the South China Morning Post that the university imposed the new requirement to instil a sense of patriotism in the students.
“The point of military training across the whole world is to teach people a sense of responsibility to their countries, and to strengthen their love for their countries,” he said.