Around 500 students are taking part in the summer camp organised by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison this year – twice the number of participants last year.
The camp, which aims to promote communication between the garrison and local students, kicked off with an opening ceremony at the PLA’s barracks at Sun Wai, Fanling on Sunday, and will end on July 31.
Participants will undergo a series of discipline and military training exercises to experience the PLA life, attend civic and moral education talks, and take part in courses on orienteering and sign language – both of which were introduced this year in response to demand.
The camp began in 2005 and is jointly organised by the PLA Hong Kong Garrison, the Education Bureau, and the Concerted Efforts Resource Centre, which was set up by Betty Tung, the wife of former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa.
The camps’ participants are mostly form three to five students from the age of 15 to 18 and this year, there are 20 classes of male participants and 16 female classes, RTHK reported. According to the Concerted Efforts Resource Centre website, participants should be in good physical health, have good conduct, and be able to communicate in Mandarin Chinese.
Lam, a 16-year-old student who is joining this year’s camp, told Ming Pao that he is interested in military affairs and likes learning about different cultures. He has joined exchange tours to the mainland three times and hoped to learn about the PLA life through the summer camp.
When asked whether he was worried that he would be “brainwashed” or what his thoughts were on Hong Kong independence, Lam declined to answer, saying that the camp had nothing to do with politics.