The dynamic of how civic education is framed during turbulent periods is illuminated through analysis of three Hong Kong official civic education curriculum guidelines (1985, 1996, 2012). Guidelines are publicly available, officially sanctioned statements of purpose that have particular relevance for education professionals and are used around the world to characterize educational initiatives. Our focus is on guidelines written during periods in which there was colonial hegemony by the United Kingdom (1985), an attempt to promote liberal democracy by the Hong Kongese (1996), and an assertion of Chinese nationalism (2012). We argue that guidelines about civic education are similar across these times of political turbulence. There are shifts in the content of the guidelines, but fundamental differences are not made explicit. The documents are not aligned with a theoretical framework of colonialism, liberal democracy, or Chinese nationalism, but rather, they are pragmatically oriented. The guidelines are signifiers of attempts to achieve normative stability. Copyright © 2019 College and University Faculty Assembly of National Council for the Social Studies.