Ip Kin-yuen, Hong Kong’s education lawmaker, praises China’s new scholarship system, but says local students may feel a tightening up of political control.
Beijing is injecting 15 million yuan (HK$17.7 million) more each year into a scholarship fund for Hong Kong and Macau students enrolled in mainland universities but with a new, potentially controversial string attached – they must “love the motherland” and uphold the one country, two systems policy.
This condition, added to the top of the list of three existing requirements, was revealed when the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office announced on Monday several measures to give Hongkongers and Macanese people on the mainland equal treatment with their counterparts there. This includes abiding by China’s laws and their school rules; be honest, trustworthy and morally upright; and get good grades.
Ip says China wants its students to be patriotic and sensible. “The mainland government is very concerned about whether they can keep their country stable to avoid challenges from the students who study there,” said the education lawmaker.
Despite the tightening of political control, Ip understands why China remains a popular destination for local students. “The numbers of students won’t be as big in the future compared to now, but university education in the mainland is cheaper and more accessible – students can return to Hong Kong for vacation. They can also benefit from the economic boom right now,” said Ip.
Currently, there are about 15,000 Hong Kong students studying in universities on the mainland.
For each batch of undergraduates, 190 students will be given the top award and receive 8,000 yuan (HK$10,640) each, with the remaining 5,300 students getting between 4,000 and 6,000 yuan each.