Date
19 November 2017
The Secretary for Education Eddie Ng has announced that his bureau will not issue any guidelines for schools on the banning of discussions of Hong Kong independence. Photo: HKEJ
The Secretary for Education Eddie Ng has announced that his bureau will not issue any guidelines for schools on the banning of discussions of Hong Kong independence. Photo: HKEJ

Banning discussion of HK independence violates UN convention

Leung Chun-ying’s regime is attempting to ban all discussions of Hong Kong independence in schools, and has threatened to sack teachers who facilitate such discussions in the classroom.

Not only does Leung’s attempt lack the most basic legal grounds under Hong Kong laws, but it also violates the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which guarantees the freedom of thought, the freedom of discussion and expression of young people under the age of 18.

China is among the 200 signatories of the convention, and Hong Kong has also adopted the convention since 1994.

If Leung’s regime bans the discussion of Hong Kong independence in schools, that will certainly constitute a violation of the convention.

If that happens, young people in this city should take immediate action to protect their legitimate rights by filing a complaint against both the Chinese and the HKSAR government with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Apart from that, young people in our city should also seek help from the foreign consulates in Hong Kong and draw international attention to the matter.

Since the UNCRC is an international treaty, if any of the signatories has violated it, both the UN and all the other signatories are under obligation to look into the case, and if necessary, conduct an inquiry into it.

In other words, once Leung Chun-ying starts banning the discussion of Hong Kong independence in our schools, it is no longer a purely internal affair of Hong Kong, but rather, an international incident, because what he violates is not only our own law but also an international treaty.

Having said that, I urge every young friend who has read this article to go through the convention thoroughly in order to know your rights, especially Article 13, which says “the child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice”.

Only by understanding your rights can you prevent your oppressive government from walking all over you.

The fact that the Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim has announced that his bureau won’t issue any guidelines for schools over the banning of such discussions and the Department of Justice has also said it won’t offer any legal advice on the matter indicates that Leung’s regime is already having cold feet about banning such discussions in our schools.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug. 23.

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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CG

HKEJ columnist

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