Pupils protesting against national education in schools have dismissed the chief executive's visit to their camp as "a mere stunt", while three teenagers who are on a hunger strike showed signs of exhaustion.
Members of the protest group Scholarism said Leung Chun-ying showed little concern for the pupils who were not eating when he visited yesterday. The group wants the government to scrap national education, which will be taught for the first time in primary schools in the term starting on Monday. It says the subject is a potential brainwashing tool.
Anna Wu Hung-yuk, head of the committee charged with implementing the curriculum, faced a chorus of boos when she visited yesterday afternoon, as more than 100 people turned up to support the 80 students camped at government headquarters. Wu was also handed a petition against the subject with more than 10,000 signatures, collected by the Labour Party.
Supporters were concerned about the three 18-year-olds - Lily Wong Lee-lee, Ivan Lam Long-yin, and another who prefers to be known only as Kaiser - who started a 72-hour hunger strike on Thursday. They looked tired and pale yesterday afternoon after 20 hours without food.
Leung, Education Secretary Eddie Ng Hak-kim and director of the Chief Executive's Office Edward Yau Tang-wah visited the pupils at around 8am.
Leung said the content of national education classes would be for schools to decide, and he invited the student group to join the committee overseeing the curriculum.
Wu asked the three strikers to take care of themselves and said she understood their stance.
The group's protest has also come to the attention of the mainland authorities - Scholarism's account on the social media site Sina Weibo was frozen yesterday. A search for Scholarism returned: "According to relevant laws and policies, the search result for 'Scholarism' cannot be displayed."