The head of the Education University has said they have “strictly” handled a case involving two students posting slogans “congratulating” a government official on their son’s death. However, they refused to reveal the students’ identity and the punishment.

The eldest son of Education Undersecretary Choi Yuk-lin died after falling from a Tsim Sha Tsui flat last September. Signs bearing the slogan “Congratulations Choi Yuk-lin’s son on going west” subsequently appeared on the campus’s Democracy Wall, on top of banners supporting freedom of expression and Hong Kong independence.

The two students were later confirmed to be students at the university. A disciplinary committee chaired by a professor, composed of teaching staff and student representatives, reviewed the case.

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.

“This incident showed a very clear message. Despite freedom of speech in campus, I hope everyone will respect each other,” Vice-Chancellor Stephen Cheung said. “I believe that university students should bear responsibility for their speech.”

He said the committee made reference to previous cases: “I believe they are fair.”

Cheung did not reveal whether the students were kicked out of the school after being asked repeatedly, but said there were records left on their files: “Those will certainly have some effect when they wish to study further or work… But we, the Education University, want to give the students a chance to learn.”

He said the school had never revealed punishments against students in its history.

“I don’t see why we have to make our punishment guidelines and the two students’ names public in this individual incident. I also don’t see why we have to do that in the future as well,” he said.

Cheung said the punishments were appropriate and the incident should come to an end after six months. The incident had not affected other students and they have all secured internships at schools this year, according to Cheung.

Stephen Cheung. File Photo: Stand News.

A poster mocking the death of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has appeared on the campus of the Education University, two days after the poster mocking the death of Choi’s son.

Cheung said the individuals could not be identified as they covered their faces almost completely.

The Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data had said that the Education University violated privacy regulations when it leaked CCTV screenshots of the individuals who posted the slogan.

Cheung said relevant guidelines have been updated.

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Kris Cheng

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.