Hong Kong’s former education minister has touched a raw nerve for saying students who join a planned class boycott might as well drop out of school.
If they really want to sacrifice for their cause, these students should quit school and give way to those who want an education, former education secretary Arthur Li was quoted as saying by Apple Daily Tuesday.
Tommy Cheung, president of the student union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said he is ashamed that Li is a former vice chancellor of the school where standing up against injustice is a tradition.
And Alex Chow, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, accused Li of being narrow-minded and demanded he retract his comments.
Student groups are planning a week-long class boycott starting Sept. 22 to protest Beijing’s decision to restrict the choices of chief executive candidates in the 2017 election.
In an interview with government broadcaster RTHK on Monday, Li said the student protest is doomed to fail because China will never change its mind.
The boycott is “nothing but a show” and is no sacrifice but a waste of time, he said.
Li compared the student movement to Tibetan protests in which activists burned themselves to death for nothing.
If the students would rather take to the streets than stay in school, they might as well quit and give others a chance to go to college, he said.
Li defended Beijing’s proposed election framework, saying it is a step forward for Hong Kong, and urged its critics to see it from Beijing’s perspective.
Fighting it is fruitless, he said.
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