As the new school year approaches, the campaign for Hong Kong independence is growing among secondary students. A group called “Studentlocalism” mounted a call to action on their Facebook page earlier this week, and students from at least 14 schools have set up “localist” concern groups, prompting the Education Bureau to warn that they would be banned on campus.
“In the coming days, Studentlocalism will continue to increase [the number of] its street booths to promote independence,” the group wrote on Facebook.
“We have also started contacting secondary student unions which support independence to foster more cooperation.”
The group called on supporters to run for their student unions when the new term begins in a bid to bring “the independence voice” to campuses.
Studentlocalism convenor Tony Chung told Young Post that it was important to start at secondary level. “Core values, such as freedom of speech, are at stake. Independence is the only solution for our future so it’s important to instil the idea of localism into students.”
To promote their activities, Tony, 15, said they would print leaflets and hold political forums at schools. “The principal of one school’s concern group has already met the students and asked them not to do anything at school. We are under a lot of pressure but we won’t stop.”
The group, which was founded in April, has a stated mission of preparing the city for self-determination.
As of yesterday , pupils from 15 secondary schools had set up their own concern groups, including Wah Yan College on Hong Kong Island and Ying Wa College.
Mak Tak-cheung, vice-principal of Ying Wa College, said students would need to talk to teachers if they wanted to set up promotional booths at school.
“We will listen to their plan and decide ... if it’s appropriate or if it goes against the school and the Education Bureau’s policies,” Mak said.
Ting Wing-hing, principal of Po Leung Kuk Centenary Li Shiu Chung Memorial College, which has one concern group, considered the school a place for learning, not a political battleground.
A spokesman for the Education Bureau said that “no pro-independence advocacy or activities should appear in schools ... and any organisation which serves to promote independence must be banned.”