Frederick Ma, the council chair of the Education University, has urged lawmakers not to put further pressure on students over a recent controversy at the teacher training school.

The university recently faced an outcry over malicious slogans posted on its message board. CCTV footage leaked to media showed two men putting up pieces of paper on the campus’s message board “congratulating” Education Undersecretary Choi Yuk-lin for the death of her son. Another slogan mocked the late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

The identities of those who put up the posters are still unknown.

Frederick Ma
Frederick Ma. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Ben Chan launched a petition last week urging the school to review its surveillance camera footage and remove them from the school.

But in response, Ma urged all sides to stop putting pressure on students.

“I ask you all, for the sake of our society, for the sake of our next generation, don’t do this,” he said on a Commercial Radio programme.

“Politics is politics, education is education,” he added.

choi yuk-lin education secretary son death signs
Signs saying “Congratulations Choi Yuk-lin on the death of your son” appeared on top of other signs protesting the removal of banners advocating independence on Education University’s Democracy Wall. Photo: Chung Kim Wah/Facebook.

He also said that, even if those responsible for the posters were students at the university, their actions did not represent the entire school.

“The people trained by this school are mostly teachers. If we get a lot of politics at the university, or [the incident] affects its reputation, it is not good for Hong Kong,” he said. “I do hope this incident will soon pass.”

Student Union President Lai Hiu-ching said she heard from top school officials that some schools said they will not employ Education University graduates, and internship opportunities for around ten students had been withdrawn.

Education University Vice-Chancellor Stephen Cheung did not give a straight answer when asked whether such incidents had occurred.

Stephen Cheung
Vice-chancellor of Education University Stephen Cheung. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

He said he hoped the public could give the school some time to handle the situation, whilst it has yet to be confirmed whether the people involved were students at the school.

“I hope everyone will not ‘make a judgment before the trial,’” he said.

He said the police will not be involved in identifying those involved. He added that if they were the university’s students, they will be protected and given space to give the school an explanation of their actions.

“I will respect their identities – we will not reveal them,” he said.

Liu Xiaobo Education University EdUHK Liu Xia
A banner mocking Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia. Photo: Screenshot.

Cheung said the school did not intentionally leak the footage, and it has asked the privacy commissioner to investigate.

Union President Lai said the school has the responsibility to protect personal privacy and she hoped the school will reveal relevant information after the privacy commissioner has completed an investigation.

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.