Hong Kong students protest against 'brainwashing' classes Hong Kong: Hong Kong students and teachers protested on Tuesday for a sixth straight day against plans to introduce Chinese patriotism classes, as political tensions rise days ahead of legislative polls. Protesters at the government headquarters said they would not vote for parties that supported "national education", which they say is a bid to brainwash children with Chinese Communist Party propaganda. "I feel national education is an important issue because it could affect many generations of children's education," second year university student Cheung Nga-lam said at the demonstration, which began on Thursday. "The new Legislative Council members will definitely have an influence on the issue because whatever they say affects society." The former British colony goes to the polls on Sunday to elect a new 70-seat legislature, but power will continue to reside with the pro-Beijing executive appointed by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Leung has ignored protesters' calls for a meeting and refused to abandon plans to implement the new education policy, which schools can adopt voluntarily from this week and will become compulsory by 2016. "We are willing to talk to the anti-national education parties, but the prerequisite of the dialogue cannot be either to withdraw or not to withdraw," Leung told reporters. Most schools have said they will not introduce the subject this year and want to see more details about how the subject should be taught. The government says the curriculum is important to foster a sense of national belonging and identity, amid rising anti-Beijing sentiment in the semi-autonomous southern city of seven million people. But critics say the lessons extol the virtues of one-party rule and gloss over events like the bloody Tiananmen crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 1989, and the mass starvation and extrajudicial killings of Mao's Cultural Revolution. Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 but maintains its own independent political and legal system which guarantees civil liberties not seen on the mainland.