Thirteen thousand students have responded to the call for a week-long boycott of classes in Hong Kong to protest Beijing’s stance on electoral reform, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported, citing the organizers of the campaign that involves 25 tertiary institutions in the city.
The students have urged the Hong Kong government and Beijing to confirm civil nomination as one of the methods for choosing the candidates for the chief executive election in 2017. They also called for abolishment of all functional constituencies seats at the Legislative Council.
Among other things, the students said China’s National People’s Congress should apologize to the Hong Kong people and withdraw its decision on the city’s electoral roadmap. If that doesn’t happen, top officials, including Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen, should resign, the students said.
A medical student taking part in the protest said she has stood up because many injustices had taken place in recent years. The person, who gave her surname as Lee, said she was very unhappy with the government’s stance on political reform. She criticized a move by Anti-Occupy Central Alliance spokesman Robert Chow for a hotline to report on students who go on strike, saying the proposal marks a dangerous sign of suppression of people’s freedom of expression.
A mainland student studying in Hong Kong also supported locals’ action, saying it is wrong on Beijing’s part to deny true universal suffrage for Hongkongers, and for trying to control people’s minds through proposals such as national education. However, she said many of her friends from the mainland are only focused on economic issues and do not understand Hong Kong people’s concerns.
Meanwhile, a postgraduate student who chose not to participate in the strike pointed out that Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan citizens are already enjoying much more freedom than what people on the mainland do. He feels the class boycott is unnecessary, but still said he admires the courage of those who are taking part in the protest.
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