The Nanjing Massacre saw thousands of Nanjing citizens randomly slaughtered and raped by Japanese troops between 1937 and January 1938.
The 5 minutes long footage exhibited scenes of executions and corpses, including babies to the first-graders of the schools during a class on moral and civic education.
NTDTV reported that the students had to watch footage of the Japanese army soldiers grabbing tiny newborns, dragging villagers into trenches, and burying them alive. Many students began crying, while others became hysterical.
One student said the teacher kept the students watching the short movie despite their reactions, telling them, “don’t be afraid.”
The school was acting according to the Education Bureau’s call for action to commemorate the massacre’s 84th anniversary on Dec. 13. It said the clip was a history lesson, but parents criticized the move as “inciting ethnic animosity.”
The school later apologized for the incident.
The event marked another level of Beijing’s takeover of Hong Kong. Following Beijing’s installation of a national security law this summer, authorities have been pushing to instill a feeling of Chinese identity among Hong Kong pupils.