More than 100 sympathizes, including alumni and students from neighboring areas, rushed to a secondary school on Hong Kong Island on Wednesday morning to voice their support for students who had planned a class boycott but had called off it off due to fears of expulsion.
According to an Instagram post by a student group concerned about the extradition bill, which was withdrawn on Wednesday, the management of the Chinese Foundation Secondary School in Siu Sai Wan had attempted to stop the class boycott, telling students they would be expelled if they joined the action and that any teacher or staff member who joined them would be fired.
The post said students were threatened with expulsion during a meeting with the founder and former superviser of the school sponsoring body, Annie Wu Suk-ching. Wu is the founder of Beijing Air Catering Co and a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political legislative advisory body in China.
During the meeting, the students were shown films highlighting the close relationship between China and Hong Kong, as well as the history of the school. Wu talked to the students about their further studies and mentioned that she could provide them with assistance, including writing recommendation letters.
Wu emphasized the amount she had invested in the school and that she would not allow anyone to engage in disruptive political activities on campus.
The students said they felt their dignity had been trampled on and that their political rights had been violated. While they decided to call off the boycott in order to protect both students and the teachers, they asked alumni and the general public to continue to support their cause.
Hong Kong students played a vital role in the anti-extradition bill protests over the past three months, and they stepped up their pressure on the government by launching a class boycott on September 1, hoping the chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, would listen to their five demands.
The school’s acting principal, Ho Tik-shun, later met with members of the media and said the school would not punish or expel any students for taking part in class boycotts, as long as they have parental permission, Apple Daily reported.
Ho also dismissed rumors that the school would call in riot police to search students who planned to join class boycotts. He said he respected the students’ right of expression.
Meanwhile, after it was reported that a school in Tai Po had threatened to submit students’ names to the Education Bureau if they joined the boycott night, more than 100 citizens and students surrounded Confucian Tai Shing Ho Kwok Pui Chun College on Tuesday morning.
Police officers arrived and charged at the crowd, claiming they had received noise complaints. The school denied calling them.
Video footage later showed a police officer tackling a teenage student in a playground. The pupil lost two teeth and sustained a knee injury.
A police spokesperson denied the boy was tackled, saying that the police “had the responsibility” to chase after those who are fleeing, adding that the ground was wet and the officer and the student “both slipped and fell.”
In addition to class boycotts, Hong Kong young people have experimented with other types of protest.
During their school opening ceremony on Monday, students at Po Leung Kuk Celine Ho Yam Tong College in Kowloon sang a song from the muscial Les Miserables, Do You Hear The People Sing? – which protesters have often favored over the national anthem.
A video surfaced on social media showing high school students singing the lyrics of the iconic song when the national anthem was played. They also chanted slogans.