Student concern groups for the localist cause have said that they will continue to discuss independence, following the Education Bureau’s statement that “no pro-independence advocacy or activities should appear in schools.”
Student group Studentlocalism’s convener Chang Yeuk-fei said on a Commercial Radio programme that he did not see any problem for students to discuss independence.
“A referendum is the most civilised and fair way for the people to decide, many places do the same, Hong Kong independence is only one of the options. Why can’t Hong Kong people discuss their own future?” he said.
Chang said he started noticing current affairs in the pro-democracy occupy protests, and gradually learned about localism and turned to advocating independence after seeing that it was the only way.
“I thought [building a Hong Kong state] was impossible. But I grew older and found that it wasn’t the case – any policy has hope,” he said.
Students in seventeen schools formed localism concern groups. Some of the schools’ teachers and principals contacted the students to request meetings with them.
A student, surnamed Lee, who founded an eight-member concern group in Shun Tak Fraternal Association Leung Kau Kui College, said the group’s goal was to provide students with the pros and cons of independence. It will not avoid discussing the disadvantages of independence, he said.
“Members of our group do not necessarily support independence in a very serious manner, we just hope that Hong Kong people can take back our power over the city,” Lee said.
Groups ‘should be condemned’
On Tuesday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said Hong Kong independence is not a matter of freedom of speech, and teachers have a responsibility to guide students’ discussion of the issue in the correct direction.
Leung also reportedly met with top members of governing councils of universities last week over the matter, saying that schools should give appropriate guidance to students, though he did not instruct the schools on how to deal with teachers who advocate independence.
Wong Kwan-yu, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, said on an RTHK programme that groups advocating independence in schools should be condemned.
He said teachers must teach students right from wrong, using examples of students swearing and dyeing their hair.
“Teachers must lead students in the right direction, not the wrong one,” he said. “Hong Kong independence is harming society – that can be judged by common sense.”
Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim flew to Beijing on Wednesday for a two-day trip as part of his duties. He was scheduled to visit the Beijing Municipal Education Commission and exchange views on issues such as the professional development of school principals and teachers, the Sister School Scheme, and student exchanges.
Local media were notified of the trip 30 minutes before Ng’s departure.