Hong Kong secondary and tertiary students boycott on first day of new school year

 Thousands of students expected to join boycott on first day of new school year

Victor Ting, Joanne Ma, Yujing Liu, Simone McCarthy, Kelly Ho, Nicola Chan and Denise Tsang (SCMP)
https://scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education/article/3025294/hong-kong-protests-thousands-school-students-expected-join

Organisers estimate as many as 10,000 secondary students from close to 200 schools will skip classes, with half of them expected to show up at rally in Central Strike-affected schools include alma maters of the city’s leader and the police commissioner.

Defiant school students across Hong Kong cut classes on Monday morning, using the first day of term to add their voices to anti-government anger which has fuelled months of unrest in the city.

Thousands of them were expected to head to the city centre for a rally against the now-shelved extradition bill.
Strike-a!ected schools included the alma maters of the city’s embattled leader and the chief of its beleaguered police force.

The school boycott, co-organised by localist party Demosisto, was part of a broader anti-government campaign triggered by the bill, which would have allowed the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions with which Hong Kong lacks an extradition deal, including mainland China.
It follows another weekend of violence in the city, with protesters going on the rampage outside the airport and trashing Tung Chung MTR station [1] on Sunday.
On Saturday, an illegal march on Hong Kong Island descended into pitched battles with riot police who used tear gas and water cannons.

Organisers had estimated as many as 10,000 secondary students from close to 200 schools would boycott classes, with half of them expected to show up at the rally in Edinburgh Place.
The rally had been expected to start at 10.30am, but was postponed by two hours because of bad weather.

Shau Kei Wan Government School, Shau Kei Wan East Government School, and Salesian English School

On Chai Wan Road, to the east of the island, pupils and alumni from three nearby secondary schools – from Shau Kei Wan Government School, Shau Kei Wan East Government School, and Salesian English School – formed a human chain on the 650-metre slope leading up to the Eastern Highway.
Most wore black T-shirts over their uniforms, while some students volunteered to distribute food for those who had not had breakfast.
- “We hope more students can be aware of the seriousness of the extradition bill,” said Yannis Ho Tsz-yan, a Form Six student and a member of the extradition bill concern group at Shau Kei Wan East.
The school did not ask students to get their parents’ approval for the activity. However, it wanted a list of those taking part so it could provide a place for them to get changed afterwards.
- Heiley Leung Hei-yee, a Form Three student at Shau Kei Wan who did not join the human chain, said: “I support what the students are fighting for, but I’m scared that the school will penalise me afterwards.”
She did not plan to take part in the class boycott on campus later.
- One of the organisers, a Form Four student at Shau Kei Wan who would only give his name as Richard, estimated there were some 500 pupils taking part in the chain. But he still sounded a note of pessimism.
“Personally, I’m not too optimistic about the future of this extradition bill movement, because what we’re really up against is the central government,” he said.
- Toby Chan Yin-tung, a Form Six student at Shau Kei Wan East, was similarly not very hopeful, but added: “We won’t lose faith or else we’ll lose this battle.”
- Shau Kei Wan East principal Tony Lai Ping-fai and Shau Kei Wan vice-principal Yip Wing-cheong both declined to comment as they arrived at their respective schools on Monday.

St Francis’ Canossian College

At St Francis’ Canossian College, the Wan Chai alma mater of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, six students donning yellow helmets, goggles and masks knelt in front of the entrance and held placards bearing anti-government messages. They said they hoped Lam would listen to their voices and agree to the protesters’ key demands, including the full withdrawal of the extradition bill.

Ying Wa College

Elsewhere, some 50 students at Ying Wa College in Sham Shui Po, the oldest secondary school in Hong Kong, staged a rally outside the school gates, putting up posters with anti-government messages.
- Leading chants of “Liberate Hong Kong; Revolution of our times”, Bowie Tang, a Form Six student and convenor of the school’s extradition bill concern group, said a full walkout from classes would begin on Tuesday.
He estimated 30 students would boycott Monday’s opening ceremony and sit at the basketball court.
“The school only approved our planned class boycott tomorrow at our school hall,” he said. “But I am willing to take any disciplinary consequences since I am already taking little risks by not standing at the front line out on the streets today.”
- Lo Hau-man, the parent of a Form Six student at the school and an alumnus himself, said he was there to support his son.
“He is old enough to decide for himself whether to skip classes, and he can self-study so I am not worried about it a!ecting his preparations for the public exam this year,” he said.
- Allan Cheng Kwun-kit, the college principal, said the school would provide an assembly hall for student strikers on Tuesday, but had yet to decide arrangements for next week if students followed calls to skip classes every Monday.
“Our school takes a neutral and open stance on the class boycott, but urges mutual respect for students holding opposing beliefs,” Cheng said.

La Salle College

Riot police were seen at La Salle College, where the force’s commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung went to school.
About 50 students arrived earlier than usual to take part in a peaceful sit-in in the school’s chapel, while a group of alumni in black tops and masks distributed leaflets at the entrance.
The seven officers arrived at 9.17am, saying they received complaints from residents in the neighbourhood. One former pupil had his bag searched and was asked for ID.

Other informations

Road traffic was largely normal despite protesters’ threat of blocking major thoroughfares such as the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, the Western Harbour Tunnel and Lion Rock Tunnel.
Their demands include a formal declaration of the bill’s withdrawal and an independent inquiry into police handling of the protests.

Education minister Kevin Yeung Yun-hung has stressed the authorities are opposed to any class boycott and would closely monitor the situation. He also said the authorities would call head teachers to see if there were any anomalies and would leave it to the schools to decide if punishment was needed.

Eddy Tang Chun-keung, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools, said most schools would follow government guidelines – for pupils applying for a leave of absence with a parent’s letter it would be considered an absence from class.

Meanwhile, the police force has been handing out portable alarms to the children of o"cers amid online threats including hate speech and calls for attacks against them.
Police management has also asked o"cers to report incidents of school bullying of their children to the force’s sta! relations branch, which will refer the cases to Yeung’s bureau.
Since the protests began in June, police had received more than 1,600 complaints from o"cers and family members after personal information – such as names, home addresses, pictures, phone numbers and names of school – was posted online.

 Students from 10 tertiary institutions

The pupils’ boycott coincides with a similar action planned by university students from 10 tertiary institutions. The tertiary students were being called on to converge on Chinese University on Monday afternoon to stage a mass sit-in.
But the university has urged its student union to cancel the rally “to safeguard the safety” of sta! and attendees, according to the institution.

It said hosting a rally on campus posed a high risk after the weekend’s violence.
YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College, a secondary school in Tung Chung, meanwhile, postponed the start of term until Tuesday because of “considerable uncertainty resulting from the current situation in Tung Chung” and the likelihood of traffic disruption.
Chinese University released a statement early on Monday morning, in which it said it had appealed to the student union to cancel its rally.

Links
[1] https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3025283/masked-protesters-wreak-havoc-hong-kong-airport-and
[2] https://www.scmp.com/news/hongkong/politics/article/3025284/chinese-state-media-warns-end-coming-those-attempting

 Hong Kong police deploy in force at MTR stations and outside schools on first day of planned strike

2 September 2019 12:26 - Holmes Chan (HKFP)
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/09/02/hong-kong-police-deploy-force-mtr-stations-outside-schools-first-day-planned-strike/

Police officers were spotted at multiple railway stations and schools on Monday morning, as pro-democracy protesters planned to obstruct MTR operations and boycott classes.

At around 7:30am, protesters began their civil disobedience action at MTR stations, using objects to prevent platform doors from closing at Kowloon Tong station and pressing the emergency stop buttons inside carriages. The protesters then travelled along the railway lines to cause disruption at different stations.

Police officers – many in riot gear – were spotted at MTR stations including Admiralty, Tsim Sha Tsui, North Point, Mong Kok, Tai Wai, Quarry Bay, Yau Tong, Choi Hung, Tsing Yi and others.
At Lok Fu MTR station, over 10 uniformed officers subdued a protester dressed in black and holding an umbrella. Police also detained protesters at Lai King station, with an officer saying that one man was suspected of criminal damage.
Police also conducted stop-and-search operations at multiple MTR stations. Photos circulating online appeared to show four police officers detaining a schoolgirl in uniform at Wong Tai Sin station, and at Kowloon Tong station a man dressed in black was found to have a gas mask and gloves in his backpack.

The MTR Corporation earlier condemned the “continuous vandalism” of its stations, which it said affected 32 stations on Saturday and 12 on Sunday.
Protesters damaged station control rooms, CCTV cameras, ticket issuing machines, add value machines and defaced the stations with grafitti, the company said.

After brief delays on Monday morning on the Kwun Tong line and Tsuen Wan line, services resumed normal operations at around 9:30am.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam thanked MTRC staff on Monday morning, saying in a Facebook post that the damage to the stations by protesters was “a terrible sight to see.” The reopening of all rail lines on Monday morning was the result of professionalism, and reassured those who needed to go to school and work, she added.

Police search protesting students

Meanwhile, some secondary school students launched a class boycott on the first day of the term. Outside the gates of schools such as La Salle College, protesters – many masked or dressed in protest gear – handed out flyers and chanted slogans.
At around 10am, riot police arrived at La Salle College and searched the belongings of protesters, saying that they want to know why they have gathered. The school has said that it did not contact police.

Students from St. Mary’s Canossian College also reported that their school refused entry to those carrying protest materials, and confiscated some of the supplies. Those who wore black face masks were told by teachers to switch to other types of face masks, or else risk a penalty.

Multiple schools around Hong Kong have seen their students and alumni standing outside school gates, urging other students to join the class boycott.

The citywide class boycott was jointly organised by
- Demosisto,
- Demovanile
- Hong Kong ANTI-FOO Student Alliance,
which earlier estimated that as many as 10,000 secondary school students would join.

A school strike rally was planned for Monday morning at Edinburgh Place, but was delayed until 12:30pm due to rain.

Separately, university students also gathered at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to prepare for their strike rally.
The school objected to the rally, saying that it was a “very high risk,” but the CUHK Student Union said it would go ahead as planned on Monday afternoon.

 Protesting pupils gather for Hong Kong class boycott rally

3:12pm, 2 Sep - Gigi Choy, Victor Ting, Sum Lok-kei, Jeffie Lam (SCMP)
https://scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3025342/protesting-pupils-gather-hong-kong-class-boycott-rally

Youngsters at event in Central demand the government listen to protesters’ demands
Separate sit-in at Chinese University draws more than 1,000 students, at start of two-week strike

More than 800 school pupils attended a class boycott rally under torrential rain on Monday, sending a defiant message to Hong Kong authorities that months-long unrest would not recede with the start of the new term.
- Some showed up at Edinburgh Square in Central as early as 9.30am, having skipped school completely.
- Others streamed in at about noon after classes finished early on the first day.

About 10,000 secondary pupils from close to 200 schools were predicted to join the boycott [1], the latest drive in a broader anti-government movement which has rocked the city since June, triggered by the now-abandoned extradition bill.
“We came here on the first day of school because we want to show that we will not put a pause to the movement just because we have school,” said a Form Six pupil from Raimondi College, who only gave her name as Alice. “Students will still support the other protesters.”

- Billy Chan, in Form Six at St Paul’s College, said the action was different to others used by the movement.
“There are only students here, so it can best represent the voices of young people. I hope adults in the city can listen to us, because any extradition laws passed will affect us the most,” Chan, 17, said.
- Students at St Francis’ Canossian College in Wan Chai – alma mater of city leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor – also made their voices heard.
“Since we are so young, what we can do is very limited but boycotting classes is the best way to express ourselves,” said Kat, a 13-year-old pupil there.“We’re very disappointed in Carrie Lam and embarrassed to be her successors.”

The rally – organised by groups such as Demosisto, Demovanile and Anti-Foo – was postponed for 90 minutes to 12pm because of bad weather. It was later interrupted for 10 minutes by torrential rain, which forced rally-goers to rush to a nearby tunnel and building for cover.

A Form Three pupil surnamed Ho claimed to have been among the first batch of students to arrive at 9.30am – but not many of his peers were as enthusiastic about the cause as he was.
“Lots of students in our school pretend nothing has happened and won’t talk or do anything about the situation,” Ho said.
“Those who come out today are already prepared for the risks. If we don’t use our voices, we may never have the chance to do so again.”
Ho hoped Lam’s government would address protesters’ five demands, which include a complete withdrawal of the extradition legislation and an investigation into the police’s use of force.

A booth run by almost 60 social workers was providing counselling for pupils troubled by recent street violence.
One of them, Florence Cheung, said: “Many students may have heated arguments with their parents over the political controversy lately. We are here to listen and talk to them.”

Supporters of the movement also prepared 200 boxes of food – such as hamburgers, fries, pork chop buns and sandwiches – for the students.
Among them was Duff Li, who is in his 20s and works in education. He said: “Lots of students are coming here hungry. Fighting for freedom and democracy is the responsibility of our generation but we’ve placed this burden on [the students].”

Isaac Cheng Ka-long, vice-chairman of Demosisto, condemned what he called a climate of fear created by police officers standing outside schools like La Salle College and St Mary’s Canossian College on Monday morning.
“It takes an enormous amount of courage for students here to come out today. Many do so because of the unprecedented violence last weekend where officers beat up passengers in Prince Edward station,” he said, referring to officers’ action to track down protesters in the station on Saturday night.
“We appeal to teachers, parents, sponsoring bodies and school management to back us up and support our cause.”

 Chinese University (CUHK)

Meanwhile at Chinese University (CUHK), students organised their own class inauguration ceremony after the school cancelled the official event, citing security concerns.
More than 1,000 students attended the ceremony, hours before another mass rally at the university to kick off class boycotts at tertiary institutions.

- A 24-year-old postgraduate student, who called himself Peter, said he wanted CUHK to provide more help to people injured or arrested during the movement.
“I don’t feel optimistic. I think the police will conduct more mass arrests,” he said.
- Jacky So Tsun-fung, president of CUHK’s student union, remarked that some government supporters had branded the institution a school for “rioters”.
“If going against an evil law and tyrannical rule gives us the name of rioters, we gladly accept,” So said.
He said it was up to students whether to join the boycott or attend class as usual.

In the past, the official inauguration ceremony featured speeches from university heads and student representatives.
At Monday’s unofficial ceremony, speeches were given by So, one of his predecessors, Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, and Professor Chow Po-chung.
Chow said the unrest was not Hong Kong’s “endgame” as some had claimed.
“Social movements are a slow process that need generations to sustain,” he said.

Students from 11 tertiary institutions planned to boycott classes for two weeks, from Monday.

Links
[1] https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education/article/3025294/hong-kong-protests-thousands-school-students-expected-join
[2] https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3025306/hong-kong-police-act-early-after-protesters-threaten-mass
[3] https://t.co/lWAOhIeK0C
[4] https://twitter.com/SCMPHongKong/status/1168382199810289664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
[5] https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3025291/late-night-tension-between-hong-kong-police-residents-three

 Thousands attend Hong Kong rally to kick off university class boycott

3:12pm, 2 Sep - Gigi Choy, Victor Ting, Sum Lok-kei, Jeffie Lam (SMCP)
https://scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3025342/protesting-pupils-gather-hong-kong-class-boycott-rally

Sit-in at Chinese University draws an estimated 30,000 at start of two-week strike
School pupils at separate event in Central demand the government listen to protesters’ demands.

 Tertiary students

Thousands of students held a rally on Monday 2 to kick off a two-week class boycott at 11 tertiary institutions across Hong Kong, warning of more radical action if the government ignores their demands related to the now-abandoned extradition bill.

That came hours after more than 1,000 secondary school pupils, many skipping classes, attended a separate rally to send a defiant message that months of civil unrest would not recede with the start of the new term.

At the older students’ protest, held at Chinese University (CUHK), a sea of black-clad people flooded the University Mall, a large open space on the Sha Tin campus. Many wore face masks and hard hats.

Student representatives read out a joint statement, calling on Hongkongers to continue pushing for protesters’ five demands to be met. The demands include the extradition bill’s formal withdrawal and an inquiry into the police’s handling of the protests, which have roiled the city since June 9.
“Be it bullets, be it white terror, be it the totalitarian regime, whatever obstacles stand in our way shall never be enough to break our determination,” the statement read.

Throughout the rally, the crowd chanted: “Liberate Hong Kong; Revolution of our time.”

- Students from the 11 institutions planned to boycott classes for two weeks, from Monday 2.
- And the peaceful rally carried warnings of more radical actions.
Quoting former US president John F. Kennedy, a female student representative said: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Speaking before the rally, Jacky So Tsun-fung, president of CUHK’s student union, remarked that some government supporters had branded the institution a school for “rioters”.
“If going against an evil law and tyrannical rule gives us the name of rioters, we gladly accept,” So said.

Before the rally formally began a mainland Chinese student, waving his passport, ran onto the stage and yelled: “Leave! You do not deserve to be university students.”
He tore up a flag and tried to move the speaker, before other students stopped him. Speaking to reporters afterwards, he said he supported the police, and that students’ fundamental role was to learn, not to boycott classes.

Speaking after the rally, So estimated that 30,000 people attended. Although campus bosses had called for the events to be scrapped, he added, staff were cooperative at the rally, which was organised by the student unions of CUHK, the University of Hong Kong, the University of Science and Technology, Polytechnic University, Baptist University, Lingnan University, Education University, Shue Yan University, Hang Seng University, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the Open University.

Three faculty staff approached at CUHK declined to speak on the record.
In a meeting with about 200 new first-year students on Monday, City University president Professor Way Kuo urged students to express their opinions in a peaceful and rational manner, adding that “street politics must not be brought to campus”.

 Secondary schools

Over on Hong Kong Island, secondary school pupils had been arriving at Edinburgh Square in Central since as early as 9.30am, having skipped school completely. Others streamed in at about noon after classes finished early on the first day.
Organisers said later that more than 4,000 students from at least 230 schools attended.

“We came here on the first day of school because we want to show that we will not put a pause to the movement just because we have school,” said a Form Six pupil from Raimondi College, who only gave her name as Alice. “Students will still support the other protesters.”
Billy Chan, in Form Six at St Paul’s College, said the action was different to others used by the movement.

“There are only students here, so it can best represent the voices of young people. I hope adults in the city can listen to us, because any extradition laws passed will a!ect us the most,” Chan, 17, said.

Students at St Francis’ Canossian College in Wan Chai – alma mater of city leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor – also made their voices heard.
“Since we are so young, what we can do is very limited but boycotting classes is the best way to express ourselves,” said Kat, a 13-year-old pupil there.
“We’re very disappointed in Carrie Lam and embarrassed to be her successors.”

The rally – organised by groups such as Demosisto, Demovanile and Anti-Foo – was postponed for 90 minutes to 12pm because of bad weather. It was later interrupted for 10 minutes by torrential rain, which forced rally-goers to rush to a nearby tunnel and building for cover.
A Form Three pupil surnamed Ho claimed to have been among the first batch of students to arrive at 9.30am – but not many of his peers were as enthusiastic about the cause as he was.

“Lots of students in our school pretend nothing has happened and won’t talk or do anything about the situation,” Ho said.
“Those who come out today are already prepared for the risks. If we don’t use our voices, we may never have the chance to do so again.”
Ho hoped Lam’s government would address protesters’ five demands, which include a complete withdrawal of the extradition legislation and an investigation into the police’s use of force.
A booth run by almost 60 social workers was providing counselling for pupils troubled by recent street violence.

0ne of them, Florence Cheung, said: “Many students may have heated arguments with their parents over the political controversy lately. We are here to listen and talk to them.”
Supporters of the movement also prepared 200 boxes of food – such as hamburgers, fries, pork chop buns and sandwiches – for the students.
Among them was Du! Li, who is in his 20s and works in education. He said: “Lots of students are coming here hungry. Fighting for freedom and democracy is the responsibility of our generation but we’ve placed this burden on [the students].”

Isaac Cheng Ka-long, vice-chairman of Demosisto, condemned what he called a climate of fear created by police officers standing outside schools like La Salle College and St Mary’s Canossian College on Monday morning.
“It takes an enormous amount of courage for students here to come out today. Many do so because of the unprecedented violence last weekend where o"cers beat up passengers in Prince Edward station,” he said, referring to officers’ action to track down protesters in the station on Saturday night.
“We appeal to teachers, parents, sponsoring bodies and school management to back us up and support our cause.”

Kipper Cheung, 18, turned up with a Harry Potter-inspired placard which read: “If the student of Hogwarts can defeat the Death Eaters, HK student will defeat HK police.”
“I wanted to use a humorous way to support students who are boycotting class,”
said the student at HKU SPACE.

Links
[1] https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3025306/hong-kong-police-act-early-after-protesters-threaten-mass
[2] https://t.co/lWAOhIeK0C
[3] https://twitter.com/SCMPHongKong/status/1168382199810289664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

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