Public calls for le­gal ac­tion against sep­a­ratism ad­vo­cates on cam­pus

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By CAR­RIE QIU in Hong Kong car­rieqiu@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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.

The calls came after sep­a­ratist groups Hong Kong Na­tional Front and Stu­dent­lo­cal­ism 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, re­it­erat-

A small num­ber of rad­i­cals, who are mainly from the stu­dent com­mu­nity, are re­luc­tant to ac­cept the fact that they be­came ob­so­lete.” Lau Siu-kai, vice-pres­i­dent of the Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion of Hong Kong and Ma­cao Stud­ies

ing 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 said it will of­fer as­sis­tance to schools when it’s needed.

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