Date
11 December 2017
Joshua Wong (left) says backers of the reporting hotline are confusing a class boycott with an illegal activity. Photos: HKEJ, rfa.org
Joshua Wong (left) says backers of the reporting hotline are confusing a class boycott with an illegal activity. Photos: HKEJ, rfa.org

Education groups blast anti-Occupy Central reporting plan

A pro-Beijing political alliance is under fire for urging people to report students who take part in a planned class boycott and civil disobedience, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.

The Alliance for Peace and Democracy launched a reporting hotline on Monday to encourage citizens to call in any information about the boycott.

Wong Kwan-yu, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers and the lone representative from the education sector during Monday’s launch, played down the reporting plan, saying the hotline is intended only as a back-up in case schools cannot handle the situation.

He said the initiative is no different from a signature campaign or protest march against Occupy Central in recent weeks.

Joshua Wong, a co-founder of student group Scholarism, criticized Wong for comparing the movement to someone enticing students to take drugs or join the triads.

He said Wong is confusing a class boycott with an illegal activity.

Another school group, the Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools, urged the alliance to stop the reporting plan.

And legislator Lam Tai Fai, a director of a secondary school, accused the alliance of exerting pressure on schools and undermining their autonomy.

Alan Chow, chairman of the pro-establishment Education Convergence Education Foundation Ltd., expressed his reservations about the hotline, saying schools are professional organisations and their affairs should be dealt with internally.

Chow said he does not encourage students to join the boycott but added their freedom of speech should not be curtailed.

Meanwhile, a vice principal of St. Joseph’s College said the school will remain neutral on the planned action but will allocate classrooms for students to stay in, if they decide to join the boycott, Ming Pao Daily reported.

No punishment will be given to students who support it.

Other leading schools such as Diocesan Boys’ School and St. Paul’s Co-Educational Secondary School, have yet to comment on the issue.

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