HONG KONG (AP) - The Hong Kong government calls it national education. But parents, teachers and pupils in the former British colony call it "brainwashing."
They fear it's really a ploy by Beijing authorities to indoctrinate the city's young into unquestioning support of China's Communist Party.
Government plans to introduce the classes have triggered mass protests and hunger strikes in the semi-independent southern Chinese financial center.
The dispute deepened as classes started this week. Activists including a handful of hunger-strikers are camping out in front of Hong Kong government headquarters. They want to force officials to drop plans to introduce the subject in primary and secondary schools.
They've been joined each evening by thousands of protesters in black.
The growing opposition threatens to undermine the chances of pro-Beijing candidates in legislative elections Sunday.