Hong Kong teens say anti-bullying laws are necessary, but would likely be ineffective

Report by think tank says a lack of laws, poor awareness of the issue and weak enforcement are serious problems

Wong Tsui-kai |

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Lau Ming-wai’s think tank reports that bullying must be addressed.

Many students support the idea of anti-bullying laws, but have doubts about their effectiveness.

MWYO, a think tank founded by Youth Development Commission vice-chairman Lau Ming-wai, has published a report supporting legislation on bullying, including cyberbullying. It points out that problems including a lack of laws, poor awareness of the issue, and weak enforcement should be tackled as soon as possible.

The report says 32 per cent of 15-year-olds in Hong Kong said they are bullied at least “a few times a month”.

We all need to stand up for justice and fight bullying when we see it

Speaking to Young Post, Rachel Tsang, 16, from International Christian School, said she likes the idea of a new law, but she added that “there’s not much point in enacting laws to prevent bullying, [because] it will happen one way or another … Also, there’s no absolute way to enforce the laws.”

“The most common form of bullying is isolation. It happens everywhere … there’s always that one person who’s excluded from everything and bad-mouthed and hated for no apparent reason,” Rachel said.

A student surnamed Lam, who attends a local school, also felt anti-bullying laws were necessary. However, she said: “There would be lots of problems to work out and I’m not sure how effective anti-bullying laws would be, judging by their counterparts in the workplace, although they are certainly something we can work towards.”

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She said the government doesn’t consider bullying a priority, even though they are aware of it. “They are not going to take the bull – or should I say, bullying – by the horns. Which, I dare say, would be reasonable if they were focusing on the current dumpster fire [the city’s political situation] first,” she added.

However, Sha Tin College’s Karina Chan, 15, believes “most witnesses would report bullying even if it isn’t severe”, so “anti-bullying laws aren’t necessary”. But Karina thinks teachers should pay closer attention to what’s going on within the student community to prevent such incidents from happening.

Edited by M. J. Premaratne