Six Hong Kong teachers have been disqualified over complaints linked to the 2019 anti-extradition bill protests and unrest, documents submitted to Legislative Council have revealed.
The Education Bureau (EDB) received 344 complaints related to the protests, amounting to over 77 per cent of the total 445 reports against “suspected professional misconduct of teachers” received from 2019 to 2021.
Among the 344 cases, investigations have been completed by the EDB into 311 cases. Of the 189 substantiated complaints, 50 received reprimand letters, 59 got warning letters, 39 received written advice, and 37 were given verbal reminders. There was no follow-up required with two cases “on grounds such as the teachers concerned are not registered/permitted teachers.”
According to the EDB, three teachers were disqualified after being sentenced to jail over the protests. Deregistered teachers are barred from the profession for life and banned from entering school campuses.
Other disqualifications included a teacher found to have “continuously used a large amount of one-sided and biased teaching materials,” and a primary school teacher who gave pupils a factually incorrect account of the Sino-British Opium War.
The government’s attempt to introduce a since-axed extradition bill sparked mass protests in June 2019, which escalated into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police behaviour, amid calls for democracy and anger over Beijing’s encroachment.
Demonstrators demanded an independent probe into the police conduct, amnesty for those arrested and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.”
Following the protests and unrest, Beijing inserted national security legislation directly into Hong Kong’s mini-constitution – bypassing the local legislature – in June 2020. It criminalised subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts, which were broadly defined to include disruption to transport and other infrastructure.