Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Disrespecting Anthem Means No Graduation

The Hong Kong College of Technology has a political slant on its education
It is disappointing to see a Hong Kong school has punished its graduates for not standing up during the national anthem by forcing them to leave their own graduation ceremony and not receive their certificates.

Two social work students from Hong Kong College of Technology sat silently while March of the Volunteers was played during the ceremony at a Ma On Shan campus, defying a new school rule which defines disrespecting the national anthem as misconduct.

The staff cut short the anthem not long after it began when they saw not everyone was standing. The two graduates were told to leave along with more than 10 other students who were supported the pair.

Chan told the students the school loves the country and HK
The incident lasted 20 minutes and the two graduates didn't receive their certificates.

Afterwards president and principal of Hong Kong College of Technology, Chan Cheuk-hay, spoke to the pair after the ceremony.

One student said to him: "That we sat down [during the anthem] did not mean we don't respect the national anthem. And if we sang the song, it would not mean we loved the country.

"We don't understand why the school rejected the social work students it trained up during the graduation ceremony just because of a national song."

He or she has a point there -- they are only telling Chan how they really feel and are metaphorically standing up for what they believe in, something educational institutions try to instill in students. However, these days what kinds of values to believe in is another issue...

The students held the view the Chinese government was not serving the people, and that they, as social work students, should speak out.

But Chan said the institution, established as Mongkok Workers' Night School in 1957 and led by a board of pro-Beijing members, had always loved the country and the city.

The students felt they stood up for what they believed in
"The [college] is an institution which loves the country and Hong Kong," Chan explained to the students. "It has been upholding the patriotic flag and is uncompromising.

"And we never retreated even under colonial rule, during which we were suppressed... if you didn't know about this during your admission, you have picked the wrong school."

Pretty tough words on what should have been a day of celebration.

This is not the first time students have protested when the national anthem is played, though it is the first time students were kicked out. Chan has had to deal with rebellious students before.

At the graduation ceremony at the same place in November last year, Chan scolded students for "insulting the anthem" after some social work graduates raised signs during the song, protesting China's 2016 interpretation of the Basic Law.

We understand there are rules of decorum, but kicking students out for not standing for the national anthem?

They are not disrespecting the anthem, they are not holding up signs nor shouting protests, but just not standing.

They are honest in saying the words of the national anthem don't mean anything to them. Is that wrong, so wrong that they are not entitled to their graduation certificates?

It seems very heavy handed for a college that isn't particularly well known either -- unless Chan wants to become notorious for imposing serious punishments on what he considers unruly students.

The government isn't doing a good job in allaying people's fears about the mainlandization of China, and some educational institutions are blindly obedient without considering the possible consequences of imposing such rules around the anthem.

While a law was passed in September where people who mocked the March of the Volunteers would be punished with up to 15 days in jail, enforcement of that law has not been passed in Hong Kong or Macau yet.

Until it is legally enforced, why punish students for not standing up for the anthem?

1 comment:

  1. Hong Kong College of Technology is asking for a lawsuit or a class action lawsuit given the student paid for the classes and qualified and deserved a degree or certificate. This idiotic college denying him/her for not patronizing/standing for the *PIECE OF GARBAGE* 5-star flag deserved to be sued or boycotted.