Date
16 December 2017
Secretary for Education Eddie Ng (right) is defending the reporting hotline and reiterating his opposition to the planned boycott. Photos: www.gov.hk, pentoy.com
Secretary for Education Eddie Ng (right) is defending the reporting hotline and reiterating his opposition to the planned boycott. Photos: www.gov.hk, pentoy.com

Boycott hotline backers seeking way out

A pro-establishment group is distancing itself from a controversial reporting hotline aimed at discouraging students from taking part in a class boycott, Sing Tao Daily reported Thursday.   

The Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers said the effectiveness of the hotline is questionable and will not provide any information on the planned boycott, the report said, citing chairman Tang Fei.

Tang made the remark two days after the Alliance for Peace and Democracy launched the hotline to encourage citizens to call in any information about the boycott. 

The action is part of a wider civil disobedience movement to protest a political reform package recently announced by Beijing on Hong Kong’s 2017 chief executive election.

The alliance is looking for a way out after being criticized by its own members, according to the report, citing Wong Kwan-yu who said the group is evaluating whether to withdraw the hotline.

However, Stanley Ng, a spokesperson for the alliance and chairman of pro-establishment Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said the hotline will stay.

The controversy has embroiled senior government officials, with Secretary for Education Eddie Ng defending the idea and reiterating his opposition to the boycott and Executive Councilor Arthur Li saying it will not help achieve consensus.

Lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen, who represents the education sector, criticized Ng for his “disappointing” comments and said he should instead defend the rights of schools and students.

Meanwhile, political commentators Ivan Choy and Ma Ngok of the Chinese University of Hong Kong signed a letter with 66 teachers and professors from tertiary institutions urging the public not to alienate students who participate in the boycott.

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