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Hong Kong localism and independence

Protest for student who called for Hong Kong independence during Carrie Lam school visit descends into war of words

Pro-independence groups Studentlocalism and HongKong National Front demanded Kwai Chung Methodist College apologise or retract warning given to Form Five student

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 November, 2017, 9:18pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 November, 2017, 10:42pm

About 10 students protested outside a Hong Kong secondary school on Friday after one of their peers was given a warning for brandishing a pro-independence slogan in a photo with the city’s leader.

As the student at the centre of the storm did not show up, with his whereabouts unknown, the demonstrators instead became entangled in a war of words with about 20 pro-Beijing protesters also at the scene.

Kwai Chung Methodist College did not respond to demands to apologise or retract the warning given to the student who held up his mobile phone with the words “Hong Kong Independence” on the screen, during a ceremony for a student reporter programme, attended by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

The photo went viral and the following day the student was told that he could not advocate any topic without the school’s permission while he was on campus, wearing a uniform or attending school functions. He was let off with a warning.

Pro-independence groups Studentlocalism and HongKong National Front said they were there to rally behind one of their members, a Form Five student who had enrolled in their latest campaign to advocate on campus that Hong Kong should break away from mainland China.

Earlier this month, pro-independence groups from 18 schools and universities across the city revived a controversial drive on campuses to promote separation from mainland China.

They distributed separatism-themed fliers and stickers to students and set up street booths across the city.

But as police presence was visibly heightened outside the school on Friday afternoon, very few people witnessed the rowdy scenes because the school had released most students before the protesters arrived.

The quarrel eventually died down when the student could not be contacted and the demonstrators dispersed.

Studentlocalism convenor Tony Chung Hon-lam admitted the protest was a failure but vowed to return regularly until the school apologised.