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Uni chief backs his students' class boycott

Winnie Chong and Candy Chan

Friday, September 07, 2012

Joseph Sung Jao-yiu has become the first university head to support the students protesting against the introduction of national education in primary schools.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong vice chancellor said he respects the decision of the Federation of Students to call for a boycott of classes on Tuesday and that the university will do what it can to help them.

"They have expressed their views and we support them," Sung said.

But when asked if the government should scrap the subject, he said this is a technical problem which the government has to address.

"In universities, students are encouraged to think independently," Sung said. "At the same time, we don't think it is wrong to understand our country. So we hope they can find a balance between the two things."

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About 1,000 students plan to boycott classes and attend a rally at the Chinese University on Tuesday. Samuel Li Shing- hong, general-secretary of the Federation of Students, which organized the protest, said they will see how the government reacts to the half-day action before deciding if they will prolong the boycott.

A University of Hong Kong spokeswoman said the university respects the freedom of expression by students.

Retired teacher James Hon Lin-shan, 63, who has been fasting for more than 100 hours, said the number of hunger strikers is irrelevant as long as a clear message is sent to the public and the government.


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