School leaflets press independence issue

Top News | Sum Lok-kei 15 Nov 2017

The independence issue was back on the table at 12 schools yesterday, thanks to leaflets passed out by the Hong Kong National Front and Studentlocalism.

There were reports that some teachers stopped their students from distributing them to classmates but one of the organizers vowed the campaign would continue.

The pro-independence flame was fanned at the start of the school year with banners appearing at several universities.

This sparked a fierce debate and forced the vice chancellors of 10 universities to issue a joint statement saying that while they treasured freedom of expression they condemned its recent abuses.

The front said the leaflets were handed out to students at 10 secondary schools and two universities on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories.

The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Lo Kon Ting Memorial College in Yuen Long was one of them but the others were not named.

"Only independence can protect Hong Kong and its citizens," according to a leaflet.

Another stated that independence from China will put Hong Kong "back on the right course."

The groups claimed the leaflets were voluntarily distributed by students from the schools.

They also posted an online application form on Facebook for those interested in helping with the distribution.

The front convener, who goes by the name of Louis, said about 2,000 leaflets and 10,000 stickers were printed for distribution.

He said some students were stopped from distributing the leaflets by teachers.

Studentlocalism convener Tong Chung Hon-lam, a secondary student, said the groups will set up booths to convey pro-independence views.

The Education Bureau has warned that any independence advocacy would run against the "one country, two systems" policy and the long-term interests of Hong Kong.

Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin- yuen said political promotions at secondary schools are "not ideal" and those involved should stop.

Fung Wai-wah, president of the Professional Teachers' Union, said it is inappropriate to hand out political leaflets at secondary schools as the students are minors.

Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun said schools should "punish and educate" the students involved in the distribution of leaflets.

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