International sector leads candle-lit vigil for peace from Chater Garden to the American Consulate As hundreds of thousands of school and university students across the world walked out of class this week in opposition to the US-led attacks on Iraq, reaction among Hong Kong students was more muted. Among local secondary schools, student unions in the Tuen Mun district took the lead in mobilising a response on their campuses. But it was the international students from Li Po Chun United World College, Ma On Shan, who were most prominent during Thursday's candle-lit vigil. About two dozen attended. Eric Ting Wing-ying, school principal of Po Leung Kuk Centenary Li Shiu Chung (PLKCLSC) Memorial College, Tuen Mun, said: 'Our students are organising open forums and poster campaigns promoting the 'No to war' movement.' Tuen Mun Catholic Secondary School students also felt strongly about the war and had joined forces to organise a peace campaign among schools in the district, said Cyrus Lo Wing, 17, president of its student union. Shun Tak Fraternal Association Leung Kau Kui College is the third to have been active in the area. Cyrus said that many students were inspired by the Oxfam and Greenpeace 'No To War' campaign. So far 11 secondary and primary schools, including the three from Tuen Mun, have signed up to the campaign. Teachers from the schools said most students opposed war. 'Our pupils have put up blank notice-boards where classmates can express their feelings,' said Mr Ting. Chow Shek-fai, principal of De La Salle Secondary School, Sheung Shui, said that students had designed their own anti-war posters. 'The children made signs saying 'Peace' and 'No to war' in English and Chinese using green material and placed them around the school,' he said. Meanwhile, several student groups attended a candle-lit march from Chater Garden to the US Consulate-General. 'I'm really happy to see so many young people here,' said Sami, 18, a Palestinian student at Li Po Chun who moved to Hong Kong from the West Bank five months ago. He declined to give his full name. 'These people are showing they care about people they never met.' Those attending the demonstration held strong views on the crisis. 'Bush is more interested in oil than human life,' said Gary Kwan Shing-kit, 22, from Shue Yan College, North Point. However, compared with demonstrations held by students across the world, in particular in Australia, Germany, France and the UK, there was no mass action among Hong Kong students. Cyrus Lo, of the Tuen Mun Catholic school, said that teachers had advised them not to attend demonstrations in Central. 'We're told that a demonstration is too radical and could get out of control,' he said. Teachers preferred to focus on discussions and poster campaigns within the school. University student leaders were disappointed by the low turn-out. About 25 students from Hong Kong universities and colleges attended. 'A lot of my university colleagues oppose the war but they didn't go on the march,' said Elisa Leung Sin Yue, 20, the external vice-president of the Hong Kong Universities Students' Union. 'They feel powerless and don't think they can change anything,' she said. Emily Elder, 21, an exchange student from Vancouver at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), said: 'I would love to see a more vocal response on Hong Kong campuses. I have not seen much obvious opposition to war.' In a recent online poll by the HKU students' union, the majority of respondents voted against military strikes in Iraq, with fewer than 3 per cent in support. But a spokesman for Greenpeace said that students should voice their opposition more openly. 'Hong Kong students are too passive,' said Wong Wing, a Greenpeace campaigner. They would only understand the gravity of the conflict when it began to affect the local economy, he warned. 'Hong Kong is a commercial society. At the moment the war is not directly affecting the financial situation here so students don't feel it is important,' he said. Meanwhile, members of the Model United Nations club at Island School on Thursday staged a three-hour emergency debate on the issue. The US and its allies were defeated 16 to 12. 'The kids were right up to date and knew the news,' said deputy principal Chris Forse. Another anti-war demonstration is scheduled for tomorrow at 3pm at Edinburgh Place, Central.