At least two sponsoring bodies have issued guidelines for schools against the advocacy of Hong Kong independence, according to local media.

The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals issued guidelines to 18 secondary schools it oversees, stating that although it respected students’ and teachers’ rights of expression, the promotion of political views on campus was inappropriate, according to Apple Daily.

Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Yau Tze Tin Memorial College
Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Yau Tze Tin Memorial College. Photo: Wikicommons.

Sisters of the Precious Blood, which also issued guidelines, said that Hong Kong independence is something that encourages secession, and it will not allow its proliferation nor will it provide opportunities to discuss the topic, according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

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Agnes Au Yi-man, the supervisor of several schools overseen by Precious Blood, told Now TV that “there are some topics we wouldn’t want to put on the table… for example, committing suicide, you wouldn’t discuss with students about what ways you can commit suicide, because we all would not do it. The problem of Hong Kong independence, we would not create such a chance, but this does not mean banning them to talk about it”

Sister Agnes Au Yi-man
Sister Agnes Au Yi-man. Photo: Precious Blood Secondary School.

She also told Apple Daily that “Hong Kong independence clearly encourages secession, and it is very easy to violate the law in these cases. I must protect the students and be responsible to parents, and cannot allow Hong Kong independence to spread on school grounds.”

She said that the school would analyse the topic with students, including presenting “the pros and cons [of Hong Kong independence,] whether or not it is possible.” She also added that if a student believed in independence, the school would respect his or her views, but “would not let such thinking be advocated at school.”

The Education Bureau recently said that teachers who advocated for independence in schools may lose their qualifications. The Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying also compared talk of independence to foul language, saying that students “may be kicked out” if they spoke about the topic.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.