Hong Kong: The Empire Strikes Back

Submitted by AWL on 24 June, 2020 - 8:17 Author: Chen Ying
Hong Kong protest

A music teacher in Hong Kong has been sacked by her school, because she allowed one of her students to perform the song Glory to Hong Kong as part of an assessment task at school.

Lau Ka-tung, a social worker, was accused of hindering officers from proceeding by standing in front of a cordon and using his body to strike a policeman's shield. He was sentenced to a year in jail, the first social worker to receive a jail sentence resulting from last year's protests. The defence applied for bail as they planned to file an appeal against the sentence, but the application was denied and he was sent behind bars immediately.

Last month, HK Chief Executive Carrie Lam declared that a Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education History exam question asking candidates whether they agreed with the view that Japan did more good than harm to China from 1900-45 is to be scrapped because the question was "biased".

A teacher of Liberal Studies who was blinded in one eye by a rubber bullet last June has resigned from his teaching post. Several Liberal Studies curriculum officers in the examinations authority have resigned from their posts. The subject is now under threat, being blamed for inciting students.

Hong Kong police have stated that nearly 40% of 9,000 people arrested since last June are students, including over 1600 secondary school students. Over 100 primary and secondary school teachers have been arrested. The Education Secretary has declared that all teachers must undergo training on professional ethics.

The Professional Teachers Union's survey showed that 90% of teachers were losing confidence in the autonomy of the teaching profession, with 78% expressed frustration with "pressure from the government".

A school principal is retiring for personal reasons — he did not manage to prevent 50-odd students from singing "Glory to Hong Kong" and chanting protest slogans in his school's playground.

The Hong Kong Government forced through a law on the Chinese National Anthem, the March of the Volunteers. Now schools are expected to teach all students to sing this on all important occasions such as National Day on Oct 1st, HKSAR Day on 1st July etc, as the National Flag of the People's Republic of China is raised in school playgrounds.

To crown it all, the National People's Congress has imposed a National Security Law on Hong Kong.

The Empire has definitely Struck Back.

The National Security Law would punish acts deemed to constitute secession, subversion, terrorism, collusion and foreign interference in Hong Kong. It bypasses the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini constitution established in 1997 as the basis of the One Country Two Systems framework. It cuts through the Common Law approach to justice, and undermines a judiciary which is supposed to be independent of the executive branch. The Chief Executive has powers to nominate which judge should preside over specific National Security court cases. Even within the government's inner circle, the Executive Council, opinion is divided whether there will be jury trials for National Security court cases. In special cases, China can take over a case and conduct the trial in the mainland instead of in Hong Kong.

All parties on the democratic camp have already declared their opposition to this National Security law. The next move from Beijing is now expected to be using the National Security Law to disqualify pro-democracy candidates in the forthcoming September Legislative Council elections, unless they swear allegiance to this new law.

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