Students at Hong Kong secondary schools form human chains as part of class boycott, with pupils at one accusing management of restricting freedom of expression

Link: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education/article/3025924/students-hong-kong-secondary-schools-form-human-chains

Media: South China Morning Post

Published Date: 5th September 2019

Around 200 alumni and 100 pupils from the elite King’s College in Mid-Levels protesting what they saw as the school’s suppression of student’s rights. Photo: Handout

Around 200 alumni and 100 pupils from the elite King’s College in Mid-Levels protesting what they saw as the school’s suppression of student’s rights. Photo: Handout

Around 200 alumni and 100 pupils from the elite King’s College in Mid-Levels formed a human chain on Thursday to protest against what they saw as the school’s suppression of students’ rights.

Alumnus Sam Yip Kam-lung organised the event in collaboration with students after hearing King’s College did not grant pupils permission to use the school hall for a class boycott, and covered up the Lennon Wall that students had erected to express their views.

The class boycott was part of a citywide movement to protest against the now-withdrawn extradition bill, with students and alumni from at least two other two secondary schools also accusing school managers of limiting students’ rights earlier this week.

“We alumni think the school has violated students’ right of expression and we want to support students in exercising their freedom of expression, no matter what their political views,” Yip said.

The human chain ran almost the entire perimeter of the school grounds, from High Street to Bonham Road. Some protesters held up signs that read: “reject white terror, return freedom of expression to King’s College”.

The rally was held on Thursday morning despite Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor saying the previous day she would formally withdraw the controversial extradition bill, which triggered months of protests in the city.

The school’s Lennon Wall was put up on Monday, the first day of the strike in which tens of thousands of secondary and university students joined rallies and some boycotted classes when the new academic year started.

King’s College principal Kang Tai-chak, said that while he did not want politics to enter the school, he was not opposed to students discussing it on campus.

“We want to maintain a safe educational environment for students,” he said. “The school has already told students in summer meetings that it does not encourage or participate in class boycotts.”

Regarding the Lennon Wall, he said they had held two meetings with students on the handling.

“The school can remove the messages posted on the Lennon Wall but did not do so because they contain students’ opinions.”

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