Students expressed their frustrations with demonstrations involving human chains and chanting anti-government slogans
Secondary students from schools across the city organised rallies and boycotted classes today, one day after a Form Five student was shot in the chest with a live round fired by the police during the citywide anti-government protests on Chinese National Day.
The 18-year-old from Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College was shot at close range on Hoi Pa Street in Tsuen Wan yesterday afternoon. Now in stable condition, the student was first sent to Princess Margaret Hospital with a serious lung injury, then transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he underwent a chest operation to have the bullet removed.
In Aberdeen, over 30 masked students from St. Peter’s Secondary School formed a human chain on Aberdeen Reservoir Road before school.
Lined up on the slope between their school and Pui Tak Canossian College, the students sang the protest anthem Glory to Hong Kong and chanted Chinese and English slogans, including “Five Demands, Not One Less”, “Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong” and “Secondary Schools in Heung Shing [a fictional city often used in local public exam questions to symbolise Hong Kong], Together we rise, together we fall.”
“Even though the injured student is now in stable condition, we are super infuriated by the incident. How could the police shoot at such a close range? They should have aimed at least 30 metres away,” said one of the school’s concern group members surnamed Wong, a Form Five student .
The 16-year-old added that she could not comprehend why the officers had to “let a young man to suffer from such severe pain” if their only aim was to defend themselves.
“If they could fire live ammunition on a protester - as young as a Form Five student - one time, they could do it a second time, or a third… We must stand up for the student and express our concerns to the world, or we are burying our conscience,” she said. “I believe that if I was the one who was injured, others would also do the same for me.”
Another concern group member, 17, surnamed Chan, shared Wong’s anger. “The student should be happily enjoying his study life, but he almost sacrificed himself while voicing his conscience,” he said. “He wasn’t being treated by the police as a man, but a cockroach, just as how the police have been labelling the protesters.”
Chan also admitted that the concern group would not ask for the school’s permission to hold any anti-government rallies, and that he had been advised by school teachers not to incorporate any negative speech against the police in any form in their demonstrations.
On the other side of the harbour, about 100 students from three schools in Kwun Tong also formed a human chain to show support for the injured protester on Hiu Kwong Street in Sau Mau Ping. The participants were from HKSKH Bishop Hall Secondary School, Leung Shek Chee College (LSCC) and HKTA Ching Ching Secondary School (HKTACCSS).
The students chanted various slogans, including “No rioters, only a tyrannical regime”, “Five demands, not one less" and “721, [the police] didn’t show up; 831, [the police] beat someone to death”, a reference to the police’s perceived inaction towards the mob attacks on July 21 in Yuen Long and the alleged police violence at Prince Edward station on August 31, which led to online speculations people had died.
Iris, a junior form student from LSCC, told Young Post that she joined the human chain because she was outraged at the police’s response at the press conference last night regarding their decision to fire the live round.
“I don’t believe the government will take action or respond to public opinion. Still, I would like to take part in this small movement while I can, as I am not allowed to take to the streets and be one of the frontline protesters.”
Another participant nicknamed “Ah Kiu” helped lead the chants. The Form Five student from HKTACCSS told Young Post that the three schools had been jointly holding the human chain event since September 4, but students showed the most unity today.
“We recognise that forming a human chain might not be very helpful; you may say it’s a form of expression, but everyone knows that it is less effective than what the frontline protesters have been doing.” he said.
“Still, we would like to let the frontline protesters know that we share their determination. While they take bullets for us, our human chain serves as an encouragement for them, and also shows everyone that we are rooting for them,” added Ah Kiu.
Meanwhile, another LSCC student surnamed Chan said she had not, and would not, participate in any human chain events.
“I believe it would create a lot of disturbance to the residents nearby, as well as students who have already started school,” she explained.
Nevertheless, she believed it was a peaceful protest and showed understanding towards students taking part in the rally. “I think it’s good that [the participants]… have their own opinions, and that they have a space to express them.”
In addition to the human chain, there was also a “Lennon Path” outside the schools. The timeline of the anti-extradition bill protests was graffitied on the ground, which attracted passersbys to take pictures.
Over 200 Sing Yin Secondary School students also boycotted classes to show solidarity with the victim and arrested protesters, as well as to condemn police for their alleged excessive violence.
It started with sharing by their student concern group members at the morning assembly. One of the speakers, Anson Kwong, 15, stated that it wasn’t necessary for the police involved in the incident to shoot the student in the chest as a form of self defense. “He could have taken alternative measures, such as firing a gun into the air.”
He added that Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung was merely playing with words in the press conference last night, and claimed that the force had been connived to abuse their power without proper supervision.
After the school bell rang, about 30 students stayed at the open basketball court for a sit-in. They chanted slogans and sang protest songs during their first recess, which attracted more students to join the class boycott.
One of the participants, Michael Ng, 17, said he had never imagined that Hong Kong police would fire live rounds against their people, and that Hongkongers’ freedom to assemble would be restricted. He also admitted feeling anxious and helpless about the police’s escalating violence, the unresponsive government, and the irrational governors.
More than a hundred students from Wah Yan College also boycotted classes, according to a post on their student concern group's Instagram page. They moved their desks outside the classroom and self-studied under the sun.