Conscription is not a word to be used jokingly. But Tony Chung Hon-lam, convenor of the pro-independence group Studentlocalism, came up with it as a suggestion to how Hong Kong would protect itself if it decided to break away from China.
Speaking on a radio progamme today, he said, “Hong Kong’s youngsters are relatively weak. So if all adults could be drafted into the army for a year or two, it would be good for their health, in addition to being able to protect our country,” he said. Drafting adults into the military would mean Hongkongers within a certain age group, would have to join or face punishment. Some countries in the world, like Singapore, still have it, but most modern armies rely on professional personnel. Chung stressed that Hong Kong would have to remain neutral in world affairs and maintain good relations with other countries.
Chung was more interested, though, in talking about the group’s strategy to get students talking about the idea of an independent Hong Kong in schools. He said his group hoped students would set up their own groups in their schools. Studentlocalism hoped to spread the idea by distributing leaflets in schools.
That doesn’t seem likely given that education officials have been warning people against talking about the idea in schools. After a few days of officials seeming to threaten teachers with losing their jobs if they talked about it, yesterday education minister Eddie Ng Hak-kim sought to make the government’s position clear. He said students could discuss the issue, but only under the supervision of teachers and within the framework of the Basic Law.
Chung said he expected schools and authorities would try to clamp down on Studentlocalism’s activities.
“If they try to stop us from distributing leaflets, we could do that just outside the school where they can’t stop us from doing anything,” he said.