One of the students who was suspended by a Hong Kong school for three days last week for disrespecting a flagraising ceremony said it was “good to reflect” during his suspension and that he would not commit the same offense again, HK01 reported on Wednesday.
It was earlier reported that St. Francis Xavier’s School in Tsuen Wan suspended 14 students after they missed the ceremony last Wednesday as they were eating breakfast. Some reports also said that the school’s vice-principal, Law Chui-lin, accused the students of breaching the national security law.
HK01 reported on Wednesday that the suspended student they talked to told them he did not notice the ceremony due to the long suspension of classes during the Covid-19 pandemic and because it was the first time the ceremony was held this year.
The secondary six student added that his teacher did not remind students about the ceremony and he was not very aware of it.
“I was quite scared then. I didn’t know what was happening. Actually I was getting ready to stand up,” the online news portal quoted the student as saying.
He said he could accept the punishment and treated the few days of suspension as taking time off. But he noted that some other students involved in the incident might feel wronged.
The student, who is in his final year of secondary education, added that it was quite stressful to miss school for three days as the school work for secondary six is heavy.
He also said that the fiasco had caused a lot of debates in the public, adding that he would treat the matter seriously and would not commit the same offense again.
“I’m scared they will punish us again,” he said.
Under the National Anthem Ordinance of Hong Kong, which was passed in 2020, people taking part in or attending an occasion where the national anthem is being played and sung have to stand solemnly and deport themselves with dignity, and not behave in a way disrespectful to the national anthem.
Those found to have violated the ordinance are liable for fines of up to HK$50,000 (US$6,369) and three years in prison.
Last year, the Education Bureau told schools that, starting January 2022, they have to conduct a national flagraising ceremony weekly and on New Year’s Day, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day and National Day or the preceding or following school day.
Meanwhile, reports said that the police had expressed strong concerns over an editorial cartoon published by Ming Pao on Tuesday, arguing the cartoon would give readers a wrong perception of the police.
The illustration by political cartoonist Wong Kei-kwan, better known by his pen name Zunzi, depicts anti-riot officers arriving at a school asking the principal what bad things students did today.
The principal responds by saying that a student used profanities, another lost his eraser, one was caught having a laser pen in his bag and another had talked back to his teacher, which she claims is an act of intimidation.
In response to the police, Zunzi said that the comic was not targeted at the police, but that he had wanted to convey a message about schools guide their students untiringly instead of placing them under high pressure.
Ming Pao said it was grateful for the police’s opinion, adding that the editorial department would continue to provide readers with accurate and credible news content in a professional manner, and support columnists to provide professional works.