Nightmare lessons in how not to behave

Some Education University students may prefer politicking to partying, but there is no excuse for infringing the rights of others and being disrespectful

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 August, 2018, 6:06pm
UPDATED : Friday, 31 August, 2018, 11:11pm

If university students want to advocate Hong Kong independence, we can’t stop them. But we are under no obligation to provide public resources and platforms for them to do so. It would certainly be within the powers of school management to withdraw such support. It’s not censorship, but responsible action.

The Education University is a public institution, funded by taxpayers. Its new school year ceremony and celebration party are not occasions for grandstanding by secessionists.

Yet, those students have taken advantage of the opportunity given them each year on stage to deliver a speech by promoting their political agenda. To be fair, it is not the only university student union to do so, but it is the latest.

Its student union leaders can’t seem to separate their own duty to further the welfare of their fellow students and their own political beliefs. And they do have such a duty because every university student in Hong Kong has to pay an annual fee to the student union of their school, whether or not they support its actions and programmes.

In a speech this year, the Education University student union president again tried to set out his rationale for Hong Kong to secede from the mainland. Why he thought he had the right to make such a speech on such an occasion is anyone’s guess. Doesn’t it infringe the right of other students and professors to be free of propagandising or political campaigning at a formal school event?

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Apparently, before he could read out his speech, school president Professor Stephen Cheung Yan-leung announced “let’s party” and music started to play. The union subsequently issued a statement denouncing Cheung for censorship and being disrespectful. It then published the speech in full, citing the same ad nauseam arguments on why Hong Kong should become an independent state.

I don’t know about you but I am suspicious of anyone who prefers politicking over partying.

This is, by the way, the same student union that defended the freedom of speech of those fellow students who put up a makeshift poster congratulating Undersecretary for Education Christine Choi Yuk-lin after her son committed suicide last year, along with other taunts directed at Choi posted on the university’s Facebook page.

When the school administration took down the poster, it was accused of censorship. What a nightmarish thought: these students, when they graduate, will teach our children.