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Hong Kong localism and independence

Lukewarm welcome: Hong Kong alum returns to secondary school to promote localism but sent off campus

Recent graduate says he, unlike current students, does not feel pressure from government and can discuss city’s possible independence

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 September, 2016, 12:25pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 September, 2016, 9:07pm

A tertiary student activist who returned to his secondary school yesterday to promote Hong Kong localism was sidelined after security ordered him off the property.

It was the latest episode to involve a student encouraging discussion on the city’s independence near a secondary school since localist advocates began targeting campuses on Thursday, when classes resumed.

Their efforts have included leaflet distribution and message broadcasts.

Francis Yip Kin-wai, 18, who claimed to have graduated from ELCHK Yuen Long Lutheran Secondary School at the end of the last school year, is a member of a localist group formed by the school’s alumni.

He planned to broadcast messages outside ELCHK’s main entrance at Tin Yiu Estate yesterday, but was ordered to stop and not to chat with students.

“Security from the Housing Authority said I did not apply [for a permit] to have activities in the housing estate, which indeed was the case,” he said, adding that his group wanted students to “think about the future of Hong Kong”.

Yip said that as alumni, the 11-member group did not feel the same “pressure” from the government as current students, and could therefore encourage discussions about independence.

In a separate incident on Thursday , a group of current students also cancelled its plans to distribute pro-independence materials near campus after school authorities asked to meet one of its members.

A Housing Authority spokeswoman said political parties could apply to hold charitable activities that are non-commercial and involve no advertising.

She added parties must obtain permits granted by the relevant authorities in advance and should not cause nuisance or annoyance to the public or residents.

Yip moved his event to a nearby bus stop. Despite using a microphone, his message was drowned out by traffic noise.

“There are a lot of vehicles and it is quite noisy here compared with the housing estate, but I have to accept it,” he said, adding that he would consider applying for a permit and conduct future campaigns online.

Most students approached by the Post said they had not noticed Yip, or declined to comment.

School principal Hairo Wan Ho-yin said he believed the school’s alumni would express their thoughts rationally in future and that no action would be taken against Yip as he did not disturb students and no complaints were received.