Hong Kong students threaten protest if schools keep up ‘suppression’ of their pro-independence advocacy
Joint statement from about 20 schools claims leaflet distribution since school year began in line with educational principles
Localist groups from about 20 schools are threatening to protest if teachers do not stop “suppressing” their distribution of materials advocating Hong Kong’s independence from the mainland.
The secondary school and vocational institute students said in a joint statement their members had been handing out leaflets outside their campuses since the school year started on Thursday to encourage their classmates’ awareness of local issues and Hong Kong’s future after 2047, when the city’s distinct autonomy within China is set to expire.
The students’ statement claimed their actions were in line with the government’s and the schools’ educational principles, which encouraged them to care about social matters.
“But it is regretful that our members have been continually subjected to suppression by the schools to varying degrees for distributing the leaflets,” it said.
The students said the suppression included barring them from speaking to media and removing those who had handed out the leaflets.
They urged the schools to stand with them and stop violating students’ rights.
“If there are schools that try to suppress any of our members again, we will certainly escalate our action in response,” it added.
The statement did not specify what an escalation might entail, but at a press conference on Tuesday representatives of the groups said they might lay siege to schools.
They appealed to the Education Bureau to withdraw its previous remarks reminding schools not to discuss independence.
Newly re-elected education sector legislator Ip Kin-yuen said the struggle between schools and students on the independence issue was rooted in how Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and education minister Eddie Ng Hak-kim had defined the issue.
He said Leung and Ng had made schools nervous to handle the matter and that students were now responding emotionally.