Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim has warned school teachers that they could be held responsible if students promoting Hong Kong independence resort to violence or commit other illegal acts on campus.
Ng said schools could seek help from district education officers or even the Police Public Relations Bureau if their operations are affected by such activities, Apple Daily reports.
The education chief issued the warning following reports that localist activists were seen distributing pamphlets advocating independence outside three local schools on the first day of the school year on Thursday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
The three schools were the HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity in Kowloon City, Ying Wa College in Cheung Sha Wan and Queen’s College Old Boys’ Association Secondary School in Tsing Yi.
The Education Bureau said earlier there is no room for the discussion of Hong Kong independence on school campuses.
It was reported that school staff did not intervene as activists distributed pro-independence leaflets and used loudspeakers to invite students to join their group outside the three schools.
In Cheung Sha Wan, alumni of Ying Wa College met with representatives of the school for 15 minutes.
Headmaster Cheng Kwun-kit was quoted as saying that the school will not stop people from handing out leaflets outside the school and liberal studies teachers will not avoid discussing the issue of independence in class.
In Yuen Long, a secondary three student surnamed Leung of the ELCHK Yuen Long Lutheran Secondary School was reportedly held by school representatives as he was about to distribute Hong Kong independence leaflets outside the school.
The school denied detaining the student in question, adding no one was handing out leaflets outside the campus.
School officials arranged for Leung to meet media representatives twice on Thursday afternoon. He also said he had no plan to distribute any leaflets.
Eric Cheung Tat-ming, principal lecturer at the University of Hong Kong, said it is not an offense to distribute leaflets promoting independence or any other concepts outside schools and other premises.
It could only become an offense if specific actions, such as encouraging a person to physically assault another person, are mentioned, Apple Daily quoted Cheung as saying.
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