Nathan Vanderklippe reports on the issue of individual freedom that underlies differences between mainland China and Hong Kong, in the context of the current ongoing protests in that city. In an associated article on October 30 entitled, B.C. schools caught up in Hong Kong-China dispute, Xiao Xu describes the way BC schools became involved in the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Social studies, current events

Key Question(s) to Explore:

  • What are the current protests in Hong Kong all about?

New Terminology:

Tiananmen Square, propaganda, autonomy, inflammatory

Materials Needed:

Globe article

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

Over the past months, thousands of Hong Kong residents have taken to the streets to protest mainland China’s central government’s attempts to bring Hong Kong’s legal system in line with its own. Although the Hong Kong government leader has withdrawn the initial legislation at the heart of the dispute—it would have permitted extradition to the mainland of Hong Kong citizens charged with offences in Hong Kong—the protests continued. In recent weeks and days, violence has become more common; one person has been shot by police and another was killed in a fall, ostensibly while trying to evade police.

Canada, especially British Columbia and Ontario, is home to hundreds of thousands of immigrants and children of immigrants from Hong Kong. As well, 300,000 Canadians live in Hong Kong, itself, so it is important that students have a basic understanding of the current violence unfolding on the other side of the world. In this lesson, students will practise reporting skills, writing a 250-word newspaper report on the situation in Hong Kong. Using the Globe and Mail articles as references, they will answer the key journalistic questions about the story: Who, What, Where, When and Why (if known).

Action (lesson plan and task):

NOTE: If you have students with connections to Hong Kong, you may wish to ask them to describe and explain the situation in Hong Kong these days.

Engage students in a discussion about Hong Kong to see how much they know. Locate the city on a map of the world, showing its proximity to mainland China. Note that it is not in Taiwan, a mistake many make. Discuss different ways of understanding “freedom.” For example, one can be “free to…” as well as “free from…”

Provide students with copies of both articles, attached. Brief them on the key elements of a typical newspaper/journal report. Review the Five Ws:

  • Who: Who is this story about; who are the parties involved?
  • What: What is the story about? Provide a clear picture.
  • Where is this story happening?
  • When: When did this this story happen? If continuing, how long has the story been going on?
  • Why: Why are these events happening?

The assignment:

  • Using the articles supplied as sources, students should write a brief (250 word) report on the current pro-democracy protests erupting in Hong Kong, answering all five Ws.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Students discuss the reports in a subsequent class.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students can offer a complete, if rudimentary, report on the protests in Hong Kong.

Confirming Activity:

  • Students note news reports on any subsequent protests or similar in Hong Kong.