The head of the Education University has said they have “strictly” handled a case involving two students posting slogans “congratulating” a government official on their son’s death. However, they refused to reveal the students’ identity and the punishment.
The eldest son of Education Undersecretary Choi Yuk-lin died after falling from a Tsim Sha Tsui flat last September. Signs bearing the slogan “Congratulations Choi Yuk-lin’s son on going west” subsequently appeared on the campus’s Democracy Wall, on top of banners supporting freedom of expression and Hong Kong independence.
The two students were later confirmed to be students at the university. A disciplinary committee chaired by a professor, composed of teaching staff and student representatives, reviewed the case.
“This incident showed a very clear message. Despite freedom of speech in campus, I hope everyone will respect each other,” Vice-Chancellor Stephen Cheung said. “I believe that university students should bear responsibility for their speech.”
He said the committee made reference to previous cases: “I believe they are fair.”
Cheung did not reveal whether the students were kicked out of the school after being asked repeatedly, but said there were records left on their files: “Those will certainly have some effect when they wish to study further or work… But we, the Education University, want to give the students a chance to learn.”
He said the school had never revealed punishments against students in its history.
“I don’t see why we have to make our punishment guidelines and the two students’ names public in this individual incident. I also don’t see why we have to do that in the future as well,” he said.
Cheung said the punishments were appropriate and the incident should come to an end after six months. The incident had not affected other students and they have all secured internships at schools this year, according to Cheung.
A poster mocking the death of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has appeared on the campus of the Education University, two days after the poster mocking the death of Choi’s son.
Cheung said the individuals could not be identified as they covered their faces almost completely.
Cheung said relevant guidelines have been updated.
Not-for-profit, run by journalists and completely independent – thank you for reading Hong Kong Free Press. Contribute to our critical month-long HK$1m Funding Drive, help safeguard our independence and secure our operations for another year. Read how carefully we spend every cent in our Annual/Transparency Report.