The largest teachers’ union in Hong Kong has criticised the Education Bureau’s position on separatist thought in schools. The Bureau has taken the stance that any advocacy or activities for Hong Kong independence should not be found in schools.

Student groups also said they will not stop helping more students understand the concept of self-determination and independence.

The reactions came after the Education Bureau’s warning on Sunday that teachers may lose their professional qualifications if they advocate independence in schools.

Fung Wai-wah
Fung Wai-wah. Photo: Screenshot.

Fung Wai-wah, president of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, said teachers already have a professional code setting clear boundaries – it says they cannot advocate any political thoughts. He said the education minister has been making unclear statements as to whether teachers can discuss the issue during lessons.

“Unclear to the point that we could easily step on landmines,” he said on a RTHK programme on Wednesday. “The Education Bureau demanded school management committees make appropriate follow-ups, but it did not say how… now we seem to have received some kind of warning.”

The Education Bureau.
The Education Bureau. File

“Is it best to simply not talk about it at all? We think this is against our educational needs, such as discussing current affairs for the Liberal Studies subject – this is now a popular topic, unlike the past when no one talked about it.”

Fung said the bureau’s “suppression” of the topic posed challenges to teachers’ professional conduct and judgement, adding that the bureau itself was unprofessional.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.