To the point

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF WRITER

An il­le­gal group called Hong Kong National Front claimed this week it had joined forces with a sep­a­ratist stu­dent or­ga­ni­za­tion by the name of Stu­dent­lo­cal­ism to re-launch a pub­lic­ity drive in Hong Kong schools and uni­ver­si­ties to spread “pro-in­de­pen­dence” mes­sages.

Some ob­servers be­lieve sep­a­ratist groups in ques­tion are wor­ried they have be­come ir­rel­e­vant since the pre­vi­ous pub­lic­ity cam­paign about a year ago went out like a puff of smoke. Oth­ers have warned the pub­lic as well as rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties against let­ting their guard down, con­sid­er­ing the neg­a­tive reper­cus­sions from a spate of sep­a­ratist ac­tions in the be­gin­ning of the cur­rent se­mes­ter.

It is widely agreed that Hong Kong so­ci­ety may be tol­er­ant to dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal views in gen­eral but has lit­tle sym­pa­thy to­ward sep­a­ratist sen­ti­ments, es­pe­cially those that be­come crim­i­nal acts. Still, the special ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion gov­ern­ment and school ad­min­is­tra­tors are ob­li­gated to ban “pro-in­de­pen­dence” ac­tiv­i­ties on lo­cal cam­puses, be­cause au­thor­i­ties risk ru­in­ing the fu­ture of some stu­dents if they fail to pre­vent sep­a­ratism from poi­son­ing young minds, which they are sup­posed to nur­ture and pro­tect, and lead­ing them into il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties. It is ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial to ed­u­cate younger gen­er­a­tions about the dan­ger and fu­til­ity of “Hong Kong in­de­pen­dence”, per­haps cit­ing the re­cent surge and sub­se­quent de­feat of at­tempts to gain in­de­pen­dence for the au­ton­o­mous re­gion of Cat­alo­nia in Spain. There are plenty of rea­sons why sep­a­ratism sel­dom suc­ceeds, and in China, is down­right im­pos­si­ble.

The Con­sti­tu­tion of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China and the Ba­sic Law of the Hong Kong Special Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion stip­u­late that Hong Kong is an in­alien­able part of Chi­nese ter­ri­tory and the great ma­jor­ity of lo­cal res­i­dents are Chi­nese cit­i­zens, not to men­tion the strong fam­ily ties be­tween many Hong Kong res­i­dents and their main­land com­pa­tri­ots. That is why most Hong Kong peo­ple are pa­tri­otic de­spite sep­a­ratist at­tempts to try to make them other­wise. They will will­ingly help safe­guard the na­tion’s sovereignty, se­cu­rity and de­vel­op­ment in­ter­ests in what­ever way they can. At the very least they should and would say no to sep­a­ratism read­ily when con­fronted by ad­vo­cates of such il­le­gal pur­suits.

Sep­a­ratist groups in­vari­ably use “lo­cal­ism” as ral­ly­ing call to hide their il­le­gal pur­suit of “Hong Kong in­de­pen­dence” or “ab­so­lute au­ton­omy”. But they would never deny their real as­pi­ra­tions when it comes to seek­ing pub­lic sup­port for their true cause. That is why they wage pub­lic­ity cam­paigns from time to time for “Hong Kong in­de­pen­dence” in the name of free speech or “ex­plor­ing the fu­ture of Hong Kong” de­spite the fact that their ar­gu­ments are de­void of com­mon sense — or le­gal grounds. But there is no deny­ing they do have a few young fol­low­ers on Hong Kong cam­puses. That is rea­son enough for all univer­sity and sec­ondary-school op­er­a­tors to ban sep­a­ratist pro­pa­ganda. If they don’t they may be held re­spon­si­ble for al­low­ing their stu­dents to be cor­rupted by il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties.

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