Safeguard the Next Generation Let Our Conscience Speak
817 Teachers‘ March — Declaration by HKPTU
(English Version Follows)
As teachers, we are obligated to educate the next generation. We transmit knowledge and devote ourselves to moral education. Our mission is not to help students prosper, but to nurture their conscience and to instill in them virtues and ethics.
We are teachers and Hongkongers. In the past, we had always taken pride in our city which upheld democracy, freedom, the rule of law, and human rights among other core values. Unfortunately, Hong Kong has seen a rapid decay in recent years. The lack of morals, social justice, and a functional system has driven young people to despair.
Despite strong resistance, the government attempted to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance in the beginning of the year. Legitimate concerns and questions raised by the public were met with arrogance and even contempt. Citizens had no choice but to take it to the street.
The past two months have been, to say the least, turbulent for Hong Kong. As the opposition escalates, the HKSAR government chose to dismiss the five demands. Police brutality is blatantly allowed and even acknowledged. An enormous amount of tear gases, rubber bullets, and bean bag rounds have been fired at citizens, causing irreversible damage. Many of the injured were young students.
We are also outraged by the mob attack of citizens at Yuen Long Station on July 21st in which dozens of citizens were injured. The police arrived extremely late, causing suspicion over whether it was a co-operation between the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) and the triads involved. Attacks of such have since been recurring all over the city.
On the other hand, the HKPF has been escalating its violence against citizens. On August 11th, the HKPF shot citizens in a close range at an MTR station, fired tear gas inside another MTR station, and, worst of all, shot a young female medic in the eye. She might become permanently blind.
We, as teachers, watch in deep sorrow as students and citizens are suppressed by violence, but persevere in safeguarding the city’s future at the expense of their lives and future.
Today, we stand up as teachers in solidarity and express our demands in a peaceful and non-violent manner. We must safeguard the next generation and let our conscience speak. We must walk the talk and uphold the virtues we have always taught. What we safeguard is more than our youth – it is also our city’s future. We also want to let young people of the city know they are not alone. At the same time, we urge government officials, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam, to recover their conscience, respond to the city’s five demands, stop all violence against citizens, and save Hong Kong from its decay.
The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union
August 17th, 2019