Two major school sponsors are lining up behind an effort to ban any discussion of Hong Kong independence in classrooms.
Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and Sisters of the Precious Blood run 29 primary and secondary schools between them.
The Hong Kong Economic Journal is reporting that officials have made it clear any attempt to promote independence is not allowed in their schools.
The announcement came as political headwinds created by an ongoing debate over secession continued to gather strength in the run-up to the Sept. 4 Legislative Council elections.
Secretary for Education Eddie Ng has banned such discussions in classrooms.
On Tuesday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying compared them to using foul language that could lead to expulsion from school.
Sisters of the Precious Blood, which runs 11 primary and secondary schools, said teachers have a responsibility to parents to teach the right message to their children.
It said schools should ban topics that incite students such as those concerning secession and suicide.
Tung Wah Group of Hospitals said it respects the right of students and teachers to express their views as long as such conduct does not “harm the school or the group in any way”.
Two other school sponsors — Hong Kong Sheung Kung Hui and Catholic Education Office — said they have no plans to impose a ban or issue related guidelines.
Fung Wai-wah, president of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, called the guidelines unnecessary after the Education Bureau said schools should trust their teachers’ discretion.
But Wong Kwan-yu, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, said teachers should be allowed to have a better understanding of the issues in question.
Meanwhile, the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party said its “political enlightenment plan” has the support of students from 32 schools.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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