Secondary school students debate children’s rights in Hong Kong at Teen Talk, an event organised by the city's Law Society

Secondary school students debate children’s rights in Hong Kong at Teen Talk, an event organised by the city's Law Society

Heep Yunn School were named best performers in the mock debate, which focused on child abuse

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Heep Yunn School played the role of chief secretary for administration.
Photo: Kelly Ho/SCMP

Heep Yunn School came out on top during a mock debate which discussed proposed legislation on children’s rights in Hong Kong. More than 600 local secondary school students gathered at Kitec in Kowloon Bay last Saturday for Teen Talk, an event organised by The Law Society of Hong Kong and aimed at enhancing students’ knowledge about the workings of the city’s legislature.

In light of the rising number of child abuse cases in Hong Kong in recent years, this year’s mock bill proposed that a Children’s Commission be established, with inspectors to conduct home visits. The proposal also highlights the rights of children, such as their right to life, and their right to be free from violence, abuse and neglect.

Eight teams were selected from the mock Legislative Council debate, held in October, to play the roles of government officials. They had to respond to questions raised by other teams who were “Legco members”.

HK students on the Children's Council experience first-hand what really goes on in the Legislative Council

Heep Yunn’s team, who won the “Best Performance on Stage” award, was made up of eight students. The team acted as the chief secretary for administration during the debate, and impressed the judges with their preparation and delivery.

“We did not expect to win because other teams were really strong. I’m very proud of the team because each of us contributed during the preparation,” said Veronica Leung Ching-wing, 15, the oldest member of the team. Veronica’s teammate Lam Lok-ching, 13, added that the competition gave them a fresh perspective on Legco debates.

“We used to think the debates were dull, but it turned out they could be very exciting.”

A huge percentage of children whose parents are on welfare do not have enough food to eat or clothes wear

One of the adjudicators – Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan – said he was impressed by the teams’ preparation and how the students used knowledge gained from their daily lives during the debate. “Just like in real-life Legco debates, the council members fired a lot of questions at the officials.”

The students who took on the roles of officials, however, should have been less passive and should have taken charge when asked questions, he added.

Edited by M. J. Premaratne

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
A heated debate on children’s rights

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