Beijing's Ministry of Education on Wednesday suggested Hong Kong clarify the status of simplified Chinese and Mandarin in law, and for students here to learn Mandarin under a system in which the language is incorporated into the local exam system.
The suggestions were made in a report about the language situation in the Greater Bay Area.
The state ministry also said the SAR could cooperate with Guangdong to promote Mandarin teaching.
These suggestions came as Hong Kong's education system experiences swift changes in the aftermath of the protests in 2019, and after the implementation of the national security law.
In response, the Education Bureau said there are already lessons and activities for primary and secondary students where they can learn Mandarin.
Political commentator, Chung Kim-wah, said the official use of simplified characters in Hong Kong since the handover is nothing new.
But he says the suggestion from the Ministry of Education raises the question of what would happen to the status of traditional characters.
Chung described the comments as a 'test' and questioned if it meant the legal status of traditional characters would be 'cancelled'.
Chinese and English are the official languages of Hong Kong.
Last updated: 2021-06-03 HKT 09:00