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Heung To Middle School in Kowloon Tong is back in the news. Photo: Handout

Pupil suspended by school for displaying ‘free Hong Kong’ slogan during online classes, as officials warn actions could violate national security law

  • Profile picture of Form Four student at Heung To Middle School in Kowloon Tong showed flag displaying political slogan
  • Education Bureau says it has already contacted school over message, which it says implies independence, secession and subversion

A pupil who displayed a photo with the political slogan “Free Hong Kong, Revolution Now” during online classes has been suspended for a week by his secondary school, according to its student concern group.

The teenager, a Form Four pupil at Heung To Middle School in Kowloon Tong, reportedly had an image of a flag bearing the slogan as his profile picture for online lessons.

On Tuesday night, the Education Bureau said it had already contacted the school over the issue, and said the phrase carried implications of Hong Kong independence, secession or subverting the power of the central government under the city’s national security law.
Similar slogans, such as “ Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times”, were deemed to violate the legislation by the Hong Kong government after the law came into effect on June 30.


Low-income Hong Kong students struggle as coronavirus forces classes online

Low-income Hong Kong students struggle as coronavirus forces classes online

“We understand that the school has been dealing with the incident seriously,” a bureau spokeswoman said. “We will keep in contact with the school and continue to provide them with suitable professional advice.”

No one should attempt to challenge the national security legislation, she said, while adding the bureau also believed schools would give pupils the chance to correct any wrongdoing.

Education minister Kevin Yeung Yun-hung also warned pupils in July not to protest against the law at school, including singing songs that contain political messages, such as Glory to Hong Kong, which he said was “clearly propaganda”.

Neither Heung To Middle School, which describes itself as a “traditional patriotic school”, or its principal, Wong Chung-leung, responded to multiple enquiries from the Post.

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On Monday, the school’s student concern group revealed a student had been asked to return to campus to meet with school management, where he was told he would be suspended from classes for a week because of showing “politically charged wordings” in his profile picture during online lessons.

Classes at Hong Kong schools have been taking place online because of the coronavirus pandemic, although face-to-face lessons are expected to resume in phases from September 23 after a drop in the number of new cases.

The Heung To Middle School Hong Kong Indigenous Concern Group, which called the move “political censorship”, said it thought the punishment “was too harsh”.

“He is just a normal and ordinary student, and he had to get penalised,” a group member said.


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The group also said school management had warned the pupil he could be given demerits, while also suggesting he consider transferring to another school.

Heung To Middle School was involved in another political row in June when a teacher claimed her contract was not renewed because she did not stop pupils from performing Glory to Hong Kong during music exams, and did not “share the same political views” as the school.

More than 100 pupils from Heung To and several other schools protested against the handling of the incident, while the school only said it considered whether a teacher could “meet the school’s philosophy and visions” when deciding whether to renew their contract.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Student suspended for showing ‘free Hong Kong’ slogan