Hong Kong protests: Secondary schools hold sit-ins and form human chains against anti-mask law

Hong Kong protests: Secondary schools hold sit-ins and form human chains against anti-mask law

Students at Shau Kei Wan Government Secondary School and Christ College in Sha Tin held peaceful demonstrations supporting the students arrested and opposing the mask ban

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About 80 students and a handful of alumni gather at the parking area within Shau Kei Wan Government Secondary School's campus before class on Tuesday morning.
Photo: Joanne Ma

Students from Christ College in Sha Tin and Shau Kei Wan Government Secondary School were among those who held peaceful protests on Tuesday morning. 

At 7.45 am, about 150 students and 10 alumni of Christ College in Sha Tin formed a human chain outside Pok Hong Estate, a housing estate opposite the school, in a show of solidarity with the ten students who were arrested in recent protests.

One of the arrested students was being treated at Prince of Wales Hospital for a head injury, while the others were released on bail.

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A Form Five student surnamed Kwong, who showed up at the human chain in a black top and facial mask, said he was arrested for vandalism, theft and unlawful assembly at around 11pm on Sunday night outside Maxim’s Palace near Shatin City Hall. The 16-year-old claimed he was only playing video games with a friend and did not take part in any illegal activities. He started running when he saw at least 100 riot police officers arriving at the scene. 
 

Kwong’s hands were tied behind his back with a zip tie for more than 20 minutes and police officers searched his bag. 

“The officers said a lot of insulting things to us. They asked us why we didn’t spend our energy on studying and broke the law instead. Some even said it would be best if all of us had a criminal record,” Kwong said. 

Kwong, 16, was arrested for vandalism, theft and unlawful assembly near Sha Tin City Hall on Saturday night.
Photo: SCMP / Kelly Ho

Kwong and the other arrested protesters were then taken to Ma On Shan Police Station, where the police continuously dismissed their requests to contact family members and lawyers, according to the teenager.  He eventually met with his lawyer at around 2am and was released on bail at 3am. 

Kwong said he would not attend school today and that the school had arranged emotional support services for him and other arrested students once they were ready to return to school. 
 

Students who participated in the human chain event did not wear masks. Tam Siu-ching, 16, said it was because most students feared they would be violating the newly imposed anti-mask law if they hid their faces. 

Students of Christ College in Sha Tin formed a human chain near the school on Tuesday morning to support their schoolmates who were arrested in recent protests.
Photo: SCMP / Kelly Ho

“We are here to support our schoolmates, but because there are many of us, I think it is better to not wear a mask,” Tam said. 

The human chain event ended at around 8am, and students were ushered into school by their teachers. The school’s concern group will organise another activity during lunch time today in which students will make paper cranes, a symbol of hope, to show support for the arrested students. 
 
A police vehicle arrived at Sha Tin Wai Station at around 8am, shortly after the human chain event began, but police officers remained in the vehicle.
 
 
Meanwhile at Shau Kei Wan Government Secondary School, dozens of masked students gathered for a silent sit-in in protest of the government’s use of the emergency law.
 
About 80 students and a handful of alumni gathered at the parking area within the school’s campus before class, from 7.45am to 8.15am. Many came with handmade cardboard signs. 
 
“Much of our freedom has already been exploited. But though we only have so little freedom left, we will continue to resist and show defiance to the authorities,” said Martin Lee, a 15-year-old student, who is a member of the school’s anti-ELAB concern group. 
 
Lee was responding to the Education Bureau’s statement released last Friday that said students should not wear masks or cover their faces by any means in and out of school, except for health or religious reasons. 
As the students sing the movement's anthem, "Glory to Hong Kong", some put their hands on their hearts.
Photo: Joanne Ma

Although Lee’s parents opposed his involvement in the movement, he said he had to persist in doing the right thing. At home, he avoids talking about politics with his parents, as they always end up arguing.

Lee’s mother also signed the reply slip which the Education Bureau distributed to all parents. He said that he couldn’t do anything about it, as the reply slips were sent directly to parents online. 

“Yet, I can’t stay silent in this critical moment because of my parents. There’s no turning back now. If the central government continues to erode our freedoms, we won’t be able to speak our minds anymore,” said Lee. “Hong Kong can never go back to the prosperous city that we once knew.”

Some students came with handmade cardboard signs. The one in the middle reads, "Hongkongers, resist".
Photo: Joanne Ma

As he spoke, he held up a black Bauhinia flag. The crowd chanted in the background, “Hongkongers, resist!”

Another student, Yin Tang, said, “If we don’t resist the emergency law, the government will use it to take away our freedoms step by step.”

“Therefore, I want to fulfil my responsibility as a Hong Kong citizen and exercise my right to protest now,” said the 17-year-old student. 

Alfred Lam, a 15-year-old student who decided not to join the sit-in, said that although he wasn’t part of it, he supported the participating students and would wear a mask in school. 

“I feel like the school doesn’t want us to [take part in the sit-in] and I’m worried about being punished by the school later on,” he added. 

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The crowd sang the movement’s anthems, Glory to Hong Kong and Do you hear the people sing?

They also paid a silent tribute to the people whose deaths coinceded with events that happened during the anti-government movement and showed support for the arrested protesters. 

No class boycott activities were planned on campus today.

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