Tragedy struck on the morning of Sept. 7 when the oldest son of Undersecretary for Education Christine Choi Yuk-lin jumped to his death from the family home.
I was completely shocked and deeply saddened by the news, and I immediately offered my condolences to Choi and her family on that day, despite the fact that we might have political differences.
However, the day after the tragic incident took place, a banner ridiculing the death of Choi’s son surfaced on the “democracy wall” of the Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK).
While I am very disgusted at such inhumane, outrageous and cold-blooded banner that extremely disrespected the deceased and his family, I also urge those who did it to stop hurting Choi and her family immediately, show some common decency, and withdraw those comments on the banner.
Unfortunately, even though the banner was quickly removed by the university, the incident has continued to snowball and has produced strong repercussions in the community.
In particular, some members of the public and organizations went to extreme lengths to express their anger, such as storming the EdUHK campus in protest and demanding that the university punish those who put up that banner in some specific ways.
I believe such extreme action is totally unnecessary.
As a matter of fact, I feel compelled to emphasize that since the EdUHK is a very mature tertiary education institution, it has a well-established set of guidelines and mechanism to deal with such incidents.
For example, if necessary, the university management can take the case to the student discipline committee for further investigation and scrutiny in accordance with the EdUHK Student Code of Conduct.
That said, I believe any attempt to pile pressure on the EdUHK over the incident in a high-profile fashion in the absence of substantial evidence regarding who actually did it would only further fuel the controversy.
Worse still, it could turn the university campus into a political battleground and eventually take an irreversible toll on the teaching staff and students of the EdUHK as well as society as a whole.
Even more worrisome is that according to media reports, some school principals have told the EdUHK that they would never hire its graduates because of the offensive comments posted on its campus, and some have even canceled the scheduled internship of current EdUHK students.
I think it would be absolutely ridiculous if the media reports were true.
First, at this point we aren’t even sure whether or not the two individuals who were caught on CCTV camera putting up the banner are actually EdUHK students.
Second, even if it is confirmed that the two individuals who put up that disgusting banner are indeed EdUHK students, it is my heartfelt assertion that their act definitely didn’t represent the true values and opinion of the vast majority of EdUHK students.
Therefore, any idea of imposing “collective punishment” on all EdUHK students for the wrongdoing committed by a few “bad apples” is not only totally unfair to the rest of the students, but is also against the principles of education.
As such, I believe the offensive and shameful act against Choi and her family that took place on the EdUHK campus was only an isolated case, and the rest of its students shouldn’t be implicated in it, nor should they be labeled by the education sector and the public either.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept. 15
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
– Contact us at [email protected]