Religious groups differ on boycott

Religious groups differ on boycott

The protests which involve skipping class have forced schools to set rules on whether students should be punished or not

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Reverend Peter Koon of the Anglican Church.
Reverend Peter Koon of the Anglican Church.
Photo: Edward Wong/SCMP

Hong Kong's religious groups have different opinions on how to deal with students who want to take part in the planned democracy boycott. A boycott is when students don't attend school as a way to protest against something. In this case, they are taking a stand against Beijing's ruling on Hong Kong's chief executive election in 2017. The boycott is scheduled to begin on September 22.

The Catholic diocese supports the students' right to protest, and has told its schools not to punish students who strike. But the Anglican Church is warning its students that they will receive lower marks for conduct if they skip their classes.

Archbishop and Primate of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, Reverend Peter Koon, said that the Anglican Church wanted to keep politics out of secondary schools. "Of course we do not want to punish students … but it's common sense that those students should not expect an A for conduct," he said.

The Anglican Church operates more than 30 secondary schools in Hong Kong. The Catholic diocese runs 85 secondary and middle schools.

Student-activist group Scholarism has named 88 secondary schools with student groups that have been formed out of concern for political reform.

But schools and students may face additional pressure, as the pro-Beijing Alliance for Peace and Democracy has asked citizens to report any students or schools taking part in the action.

The hotline has been widely criticised as a bullying tactic against protesters.

Convener of Scholarism, Joshua Wong Chi-fung, said the hotline was unnecessary. "The school administrators should know best what is happening on the campus," he said. "Why do they need the alliance to inform them?"

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This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Religious groups differ on boycott

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