In response to Studentlocalism’s call to students in mid-August to set up “localist” concern groups and advocate Hong Kong independence in their schools, a “localist” concern group at Wah Yan College on Hong Kong Island has drafted leaflets for distribution in the first week of the new term.
The leaflets highlight concerns over the future of the city after 2047, when the current “one country, two systems” principle expires. The concern group has put forward two solutions for the future of Hong Kong in the leaflets. The first is to rewrite Basic Law, making Hong Kong entirely separate from China. If this does not work, they will start an armed revolution and set up a whole new constitution in order to protect the interests of the “Hong Kong race”.
However, one member of the concern group from Wah Yan School, Justin, 15, told Young Post that they will probably remove inflammatory phrases like “armed revolution” from their first draft, as it may cause discomfort among the general student population.
When asked whether or not they were worried about the potential backlash from the school, Justin said that they believe they will be given some degree of freedom which will allow them to distribute the leaflets outside the school’s front door. “We’ve planned other actions, such as setting up street booths, hanging banners and holding discussion forums in or outside the school. Some people have asked if it will be difficult to get our leaflets printed, but the printing company is willing to do so and offers us a reasonable price. It will only cost us $300 to print 2,000 leaflets in colour,” he said.
At least 21 localist groups have been set up in schools to promote the discussion of Hong Kong independence. In response to the rise of these localist groups, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying reiterated that independence is a forbidden topic.
“School rules are stricter than laws in the society. For example ... you won’t go to court for using foul language, but a student can be kicked out of school for swearing and ignoring warnings for him to stop,” Leung said. He added that “there is little, if any, room for secondary school students to discuss” Hong Kong independence.
“From perspectives such as historical, political, constitutional arrangements and stipulations in the Basic Law, it is very clear that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of our country. What room for discussion is there?” Leung asked.
The Education Bureau sparked a heated debate a week ago when it warned that teachers risked disqualification if they encouraged students to engage in pro-independence talk at school.
Justin said Leung’s speech only further fuelled the deep antipathy among young people towards the Chinese government.
“Leung’s response to localism activities is unreasonable as he is only promoting the Chinese government’s policies and ideologies, which are not suitable here. Has he ever listened to our views and fought for us? The answer is a resounding no.”
He added the Education Bureau should not be able to ban students who support localism from discussing independence and participating in the student union, as it is would be infringing on their rights to freedom of speech.
The United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.”