This March 1, 2011 picture shows secondary students in their class in Hong Kong. Educators and political heavyweights urged the government to take legal action against separatism advocates after fliers promoting “Hong Kong independence” reappeared in secondary schools on Nov 14, 2017. (MIKE CLARKE / AFP)
HONG KONG - Educators and political heavyweights urged the government to take legal action against separatism advocates after fliers promoting “Hong Kong independence” reappeared in secondary schools on Tuesday.
Students are curious about everything. We should let them know the negative consequences of certain behaviors, for instance, taking illegal drugs
Wong Kwan-yu, president, Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers
The calls came after separatist groups Hong Kong National Front and Student localism announced on Tuesday that they had distributed “pro-independence” booklets outside about 20 schools across Hong Kong.
The groups did not reveal school names but students at Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Lo Kon Ting Memorial College in Yuen Long and some secondary schools in Sha Tin reportedly participated in handing out fliers on their own campuses.
Wong Kwan-yu, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, said “Hong Kong independence” is a dead end and believed many students already realized this.
He said handing out such fliers in front of school gates could cause a public nuisance; schools and teachers should call police.
Wong believed the fliers would not have much effect in spreading the notion. The groups did it only to draw public attention, Wong said. But he still urged the government to take legal action against the advocacy of separatism.
“Students are curious about everything. We should let them know the negative consequences of certain behaviors, for instance, taking illegal drugs. If they believe something has no consequences, they might want to try it,” Wong said.
Lau Siu-kai, a sociologist and vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, a leading think tank, said independence advocates on university campuses tended to be silent recently. This was especially the case after principals of 10 Hong Kong universities in September published a joint statement calling “Hong Kong independence” unconstitutional.
“A small number of radicals, who are mainly from the student community, are reluctant to accept the fact that they became obsolete,” said Lau. The sociologist added that their behavior instead strengthens public disgust over “Hong Kong independence”.
The Education Bureau issued a statement, reiterating that any form of separatism advocacy or related activity violates the “one country, two systems” principle, the Basic Law and the overall interest of the Hong Kong society.
The bureau believed principals and teachers will stick to their professionalism ensuring students study under a safe, professional environment with law and order, as senior management staff of local schools has accumulated experience in dealing with political incidents over recent years.
The bureau said it will offer assistance to schools when it’s needed.