Date
25 July 2017
Seven students who had applied for an exchange tour program sponsored by a pro-Beijing group have alleged that their interview videos were publicized without their consent. Photos: Facebook, sina.com
Seven students who had applied for an exchange tour program sponsored by a pro-Beijing group have alleged that their interview videos were publicized without their consent. Photos: Facebook, sina.com

Pro-Beijing group under fire for misusing videos of students

The Federation of Hong Kong Guangxi Community Organisations (HKGCO), a pro-Beijing group in the city, has come under fire for posting a video clip online of some students expressing support for the government’s political reform proposal.

School authorities are upset that the group posted the video without taking the consent of students and their parents, Apple Daily reported.

The principals of Kowloon Wah Yan College and Holy Trinity College were among those who criticized HKGCO, accusing the group of misleading students into expressing their political views on camera and publicizing the videos without permission.

The Maryknoll Fathers’ School also issued a statement on Tuesday, hitting out at HKGCO for infringing the privacy of one of their students.

The HKGCO interviewed students who had applied for an exchange tour program to the US. During the interviews, the students were asked about their views on Hong Kong’s controversial political reform package.

Later, the group uploaded a video which showed seven students expressing support for the government’s plan.

The affected students, meanwhile, also said that they are shocked by the incident.

HKGCO had broken an assurance that the video clips will be used only for internal assessment purposes, they said.

After edited video clips surfaced on Facebook under the headline “Occupy does not represent me”, parents of the affected students said they have lodged complaints with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Some are also seeking legal advice for possible lawsuit over breach of privacy.

Ho Lik-san, principal of Maryknoll Fathers’ School, said he never imagined that an organization like HKGCO, which is endorsed by many heavyweight political figures, including National People’s Congress deputy Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai and deputy director of the Basic Law Committee Elsie Leung, would abuse the rights of students.

Civic Party legislator Chan Ka-lok staged a protest outside the office of the HKGCO in Cheung Sha Wan Tuesday afternoon, demanding an open apology from the organization. No one answered the door.

The HKGCO, meanwhile, told Apple Daily that the organization had already issued a statement and that no additional comments would be made at this stage.

The group claimed that it made it clear to the students before the filming that the video clips would be put online. The students didn’t raise any objections then, it said.

Education Secretary Eddie Ng, who once stressed that education should not be used as political tool, said he has no comment on the matter as the Education Bureau is yet to get full information.

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