10/07/2020, 12.50
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Primary school teacher banned for speaking about independence in school

by Paul Wang

This is the first time that a teacher is subjected to this kind of punishment. The allegations date back to March 2019. The ban comes after the security law was imposed. Hong Kong’s former chief executive Leung Chun-ying wants the names of the "guilty" made public.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – A primary school teacher lost his right to teach after he was accused of spreading pro-independence messages in class.

Unofficial sources say that the teacher (whose name has been withheld) worked at the Alliance Primary School in Kowloon Tong. The principal and vice principal were also reprimanded for lax monitoring.

This is the first time in the history of the territory that a teacher suffers such punishment for speaking about independence.

The Hong Kong Education Bureau claims that the teacher violated the Hong Kong constitution, which defines the territory as part of the People's Republic of China.

According to media reports, the teacher allegedly included the topic of freedom of speech in his lessons, and as an example he cited the independence proposals of the banned National Party of Hong Kong. He is also accused of discussing the situation in Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang.

About two hours out of 23 dedicated to life education were spent on these topics.

The teacher's ban is based on his lesson plan. The lessons were given in March 2019. The decision to deregister him stems from a complain to the Education Bureau filed the following September.

The severity of the measure taken two days ago can be explained by the atmosphere prevailing in the city

At the end of June, China imposed a National Security Law on Hong Kong that prohibits and prosecutes any act or activity of secession, subversion, terrorism and collaboration with foreign forces that endanger national security.

Any opinion that expresses support for Hong Kong's independence is deemed “secession".

Last July, instructions were issued to schools not to sing hymns on Hong Kong’s “liberation”, or shout slogans that could be construed as being pro-independence.

An opposition MP, Ip Kin-yuen, who represents the education constituency, criticised the Education Bureau’s decision based only on the teacher’s lesson plan and not on what was actually said in the classroom.

Furthermore, the teacher was punished without having had the opportunity to explain himself.

Meanwhile, in what is effectively a return to the Cultural Revolution, former pro-Beijing chief executive Leung Chun-ying is leading a campaign to force the Education Bureau to release the names of teachers "guilty" of such professional “misconduct”.

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