Education Secretary Kevin Yeung suggested on Tuesday that the government believes the 1989 Beijing massacre and the 1967 leftist riots in Hong Kong are not important enough to warrant inclusion in a revised Chinese history curriculum for secondary school students.
At a Legco panel meeting, several lawmakers from the opposition camp asked Yeung why the committee tasked with reviewing the curriculum is not planning to include the two sensitive topics.
Yeung replied that some historical incidents may be "relatively less important" in the 5,000 years of Chinese history, and he urged lawmakers not to make a fuss about the proposed new curriculum.
"We hope that there will be a systematic way to present the 5,000 year history of our country. We should not get bogged down on just a couple of historical points," the secretary said.
But he added that schools have always been free to teach students about sensitive events and the committee will consider adding the omitted topics into the curriculum if people feel strongly that they should be included.
Education officials say they want to make Chinese history lessons more interesting and for the subject to help students develop a greater sense of belonging to the country.
Officials hope to roll out a revised curriculum in the 2020 school year for students in form one to form three.