Hong Kong education groups have urged students to remain calm and refrain from stepping up protests that may ruin their future and the city’s long-term stability.
Wong Kam-leung, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, said the threats to escalate protests showed the current social atmosphere is “extremely politicized”, with some students becoming increasingly radical
The appeal came as several local groups, including six student unions, continued to reject Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s public apologies over the extradition law amendment bill controversy and warned they’ll escalate their actions if the government fails to meet their demands, including the withdrawal of the rendition bill.
The groups said they will urge residents to rally outside Central Government Offices in Admiralty again on Friday (today) and launch “non-cooperation” action, such as disrupting MTR train services.
Wong Kam-leung, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, said the threats to escalate protests showed the current social atmosphere is “extremely politicized”, with some students becoming increasingly radical. This is definitely not in the interests of Hong Kong society, he said.
Wong appealed to students to discuss the issue rationally rather than resorting to unlawful means at the expense of their future.
He hopes that after the controversy is resolved, the incumbent government can redirect its efforts to economic development to improve people’s livelihoods.
Wong called for more resources to be allocated to education, innovation and technology, which are expected to be the new economic growth engines.
Ho Hon-kuen, chairman of Education Convergence, warned that any stepping up of action may lead to a “lose-lose situation” for students and the government. He said students should know what can bring real benefits to Hong Kong and prioritize society’s overall interests.
Ho also dismissed the demand by some people for the chief executive to resign, pointing out that Lam had invested the most in education in recent years and achieved good results. As a senior educator himself, Ho believes Lam could shoulder her responsibilities and lead the community to move on.
Chiu Cheung-ki, principal of Chan Shu Kui Memorial School, reckoned it’s time for the SAR government to reflect on past experience and continue with its work.
Chiu, who’s also a member of the Education University of Hong Kong Council, hopes the public can give the government more space to drive the city’s economy forward and improve people’s livelihoods.
Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung also appealed for rational discussions among young people.
In a letter to Chinese-language newspaper Ta Kung Pao on Thursday, he said: “Hong Kong is our home. We are united and on the same boat.” As students and young people grow up, they could offer new impetus and new thoughts for the boat to proceed, he added.
“In a pluralistic society, it’s natural that people have different opinions but, as long as there are mutual understanding, rational discussions and acceptance, we can seek consensus to make this ship sail smoothly and keep moving forward,” the letter read.
Yeung pledged the Education Bureau will continue to listen to students’ demands and provide all-round support to the education sector. He urged educators and parents to redouble their efforts to show more care for young people and support them when they need help.
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