PTU News Reporter
While teaching is in full swing on campus, the clashes between the police and citizens caused by the backlash of the extradition bill amendment have reached the fifth month. Clashes of late had become more serious and violence had been escalating. The PTU again called for underage students to stay away from clashes to protect themselves and avoid injuries.
The PTU reiterated the current situation was caused by the government’s inability to resolve the political issues that had been going on for months. The police’s arrests were often directed at young people, casting doubt on the government’s intent to resolve issues. The government should stop using the police to suppress protests and respond to the people’s demands as soon as possible so that the society can get back on track.
Conflicts Spread to Campus PTU Urged to Restore Peace
Schools should be a quiet and safe place for students and teachers for learning and teaching. On 8th October, crowds gathered outside Po Leung Kuk Yao Ling Sun College, sprayed paint on the school’s exterior, threw liquids, climbed onto campus, and vandalised school facilities. The PTU strongly called for all sectors to stop protests targeting campuses. Political problems must be resolved by political means. Demands should be expressed in peaceful and rational manners. Students and teachers should be left alone.
On the other hand, a lecturer at Hong Kong Community College (HKCC) was surrounded and yelled at by students after a heated argument about political views. He likened the students’ behaviour to that of “rioters” and said he was “falsely imprisoned” by them. The Student Union criticised his indiscreet remarks and slander. The PTU emphasised that students and teachers of different political views should respect one another and discuss issues in a peaceful and rational manner.
Masks Banned on Campus
Education Bureau Should Not Put Schools on the Spot
The government recently used the emergency law to ban masks. On the same day, the Education Bureau issued a letter to all schools in Hong Kong, stating students should not wear masks or cover their faces by any means on and off campus. The PTU immediately issued a statement that reprimanded the Education Bureau for extending the law onto campuses. By doing so, the Education Bureau brings social conflicts into schools and puts schools on the spot in the current social and political crisis. Operation at schools would also be tremendously hindered.
After the ban on masks had come info effect, the Education Bureau demanded schools to report number of students who wore masks and number of students who formed human chains as well as whether students chanted slogans, sat in, and sang. HKPTU President Fung Wai-wah said the collection of such data was ill-founded and questioned the Education Bureau for imposing pressure on schools. He demanded the Education Bureau to stop collecting these data and adding to schools’ troubles. The Education Bureau amended their instructions later, adding the options “No”, “a small part”, “a large part”, and “nearly all” to the number of students wearing masks.
Secondary School Student Shot by Police
PTU Condemned Police’s Fatal Violence
In the past four months, clashes between the police and citizens had been continuously escalating. On 1st October, a S.5 student was shot by a police officer from a short distance in a clash in Tsuen Wan. The PTU questioned the legitimacy and proportionality of the fatal force used by the police officer as he charged towards the student and shot him from a short distance. The PTU strongly condemned such violence.
The government had long ignored public opinion and even used the emergency law to ban masks by force, causing the already agitated social atmosphere to intensify. The government must respond to the public with concrete actions, including setting up an independent inquiry committee, in order to ease the tension in the society. At the same time, the PTU strongly calls for underage students to stay away from clashes to ensure safety.