Hong Kong’s education minister has said schools must not allow students to play, sing or broadcast on campuses the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong”, which has been popularly sung by protesters since anti-extradition bill protests that gripped the city last year.
Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung noted in June that “Glory to Hong Kong” is “obviously a political propaganda song". The song frequently sung by participants of last year’s protests triggered by the now-withdrawn extradition bill.
In a reply to a question by education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen, Yeung said in the Legislative Council on Wednesday (8/7) that “the [Education Bureau] would like to emphasise that schools must not allow their students to play, sing or broadcast any songs which will disrupt the normal operation of schools, affect students' emotions or contain political messages.”
Yeung cited the protest anthem "Glory to Hong Kong" as an example saying the song “originated from the social incidents since June last year, contains strong political messages and is closely related to the social and political incidents, violence and illegal incidents that have lasted for months.”
“Therefore, schools must not allow students to play, sing or broadcast it in schools,” he said.
Yeung also pointed out that “in case a student acts in a way which is not respectful on occasions such as graduation ceremonies and school opening ceremonies or in learning activities or not in line with the learning objectives in schools, the schools concerned should take prompt action to stop it.”
“Playing, singing or broadcasting songs with political messages and forming human chains are ways to express political demands and incite the participation of other students, which are not in line with the curriculum or learning objectives,” Yeung said, adding that “forming human chains and chanting certain slogans, which carry strong political messages, have obviously been organised or carried out neither for charity nor other non-political purposes since September last year. Therefore, schools should dissuade students from doing so.”
The education chief said that, judging from last year’s incidents, problems resulting from forming human chains, for example, noise nuisance, “have caused the resentment of residents in the neighbourhood and in some cases have even led to incidents such as confrontations, injuries to persons and throwing objects from height.”
“To protect the personal safety and well-being of students, both the EDB and schools have the responsibility to stop students from forming human chains,” he said.
According to Yeung, over the past year, many students were incited to take part in violent and unlawful activities and quite a number of the students were arrested and even prosecuted.
He cited information gathered from different sources as saying that, among those arrested between June 2019 and May 2020 in relation to the social incidents, about 1,600 of them were aged under 18, while the administration believes most of them were secondary school students and some were primary school students.
“We do not want to see our students being injured, arrested, prosecuted and even convicted,” Yeung said.
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