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Friday, September 2, 2016, 23:37

Principal slams separatism advocacy infecting schools

By Joseph Li
Principal slams separatism advocacy infecting schools
Ho Hon-kuen, principal of Elegantia College, called on the Education Bureau to issue clear guidelines to schools and parents so schools can handle the spread of “Hong Kong independence” notion in a more effective manner. (Edmond Tang / China Daily)

HONG KONG - Ho Hon-kuen, principal of Elegantia College, warns that “Hong Kong independence” is unconstitutional and unlawful, as political parties and politicians – probably with foreign help – are attempting to spread separatism in schools.

At his school, teachers will explain “Hong Kong independence” is illegal before it can be discussed in Chinese History and Liberal Studies lessons with the guidance of teachers, he said.

He called on the Education Bureau to issue clear guidelines to schools and parents so schools can handle the spread of “Hong Kong independence” notion in a more effective manner.

In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Ho stressed that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China from historical, political and geographical points of view. As far back as the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220), there were ancient tombs found in contemporary Lei Cheng Uk Estate in Hong Kong. In the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), the modern-day Tuen Mun in the New Territories was a military port and there was a monument in memory of the fleeing emperors of Southern Dynasties (AD 420-589) in Hong Kong’s Kowloon City.

He rebutted some separatists who compared independence to the revolution Sun Yat-sen staged. “It is a total substitution of facts. Sun started the revolution against the corrupted Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), but separatists advocate separation of Hong Kong from China. I think no sovereign power will tolerate a city that advocates independence,” he contended.

The rise of separatism is a continuation of the anti-national education rally (2012), 79-day illegal occupation (2014) and the blood-stained Mong Kok riot (2016), the headmaster said. The rise of anti-China thoughts is partly due to lack of national spirit among the young because Chinese History is not a compulsory subject in secondary schools. If Chinese history is reinstated as a compulsory subject, the situation will improve, he said.

Ho understands that secondary and university students are passionate, rebellious and unbending to the authorities. They may be easily influenced, and some of them were “brainwashed” by politicians and law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting to boycott classes and occupy the streets. In the end, it was the students who were arrested and prosecuted.

He also pointed the finger at education constituency lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen. Ip, who is competing with Christine Choi Yuk-lin in the Legislative Council election on Sunday, claimed he opposed “Hong Kong independence” but said that it could be discussed.

“I am saddened that separatism thoughts are landing in secondary schools while some mainstream media often report pro-independence news,” he lamented.

“How can the politicians teach students at tender ages ‘to break the law to achieve justice’? For goodness sake, they should do something good by not poisoning the students.”

Education Convergence, the operating authority of Elegantia College, has issued a circular telling teachers and parents that pro-independence activities will not be allowed at schools, while teachers and students should not take part in such activities.

“If students distribute related leaflets right outside the school, we will tell them to go far away in order not to implicate the school and students. If they refuse, we may warn them that we will be reported to the police,” he stressed.

“Pro-independence discussions shall not be allowed in our school except during Chinese History or Liberal Studies lessons, but teachers should point out in the first place it is against the Basic Law,” Ho said.

“Debate on independence is not allowed either, because this can be exploited as a grey area to spread separatism.”

joseph@chinadailyhk.com

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