Page 11 - Varsity Special Issue
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8 / Periscope                                                                                              / 9

 resources,  with  “a  view  to  reinforc-  icy bureaux and experts in different   “In the past, we enjoyed freedom   Questions sent by Varsity reporters   Written reply by Security Bureau on September 25
 ing the learning elements of national  areas, and has been consulting with  of speech in Hong Kong. Now with
                                                            The national security law is enacted to safeguard national
         1. Jimmy Lai is suspected of colluding with what kind of
 security education”. The criteria and  the  education sector,  with a  view  to  the law in place, teachers have to be   foreign forces and with which country?    sovereignty, security and development interests, uphold and
 guidelines for reviewing materials are  providing more detailed guidelines as  cautious about what they say during   improve the “One Country, Two Systems” regime, safeguard
 not mentioned.   soon as possible.   lessons. That has a significant impact   2. Agnes Chow is suspected of colluding with what kind  the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, as well
 Controversies emerged when Lib-  “It is the professional duty of teach-  on teaching and learning,” Ip says.   of foreign forces and with which country?    as to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Hong
 eral Studies textbooks were found al-  ers to review regularly their teaching   Ip perceives the removal of “sepa-  Kong residents. Article 4 of the national security law clearly
         3. The expulsion of Victor Mallet in 2019 has caused great  stipulates that human rights shall be respected and protected
 tered after six local publishers joined  materials for student learning to gate-  ration of powers” in Liberal Stud-  concern. What is the visa policy for foreign journalists? Has  in  safeguarding  national  security  in  the  Hong  Kong  Special
 a voluntary professional consultancy  keep the quality and relevance of the  ies textbooks as an infringement of   the national security law affected visa applications filed by  Administrative Region (“HKSAR”); the rights and freedoms,
 scheme established by the bureau in  resource materials of the school cur-  academic freedom. “The government   foreign journalists?  including, inter alia, the freedoms of speech, of the press and
 2019. The scheme aimed to “improve  riculum,” the spokesperson says. “The  should not ban academic discussion,”   of publication, which HKSAR residents enjoy under the Ba-
         4.  Is it against the national security law to report about  sic Law and the provisions of the International Covenant on
 the quality of the textbooks to ensure  teaching materials provided to stu-  Ip  says.  “There  should  be  space  for   Hong Kong independence?    Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on
 that they are in line with the aims, ob-  dents by schools should not involve  teachers to teach and students to dis-  Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as applied to the HKSAR,
 jectives and learning focuses of the  and promote any acts that endanger  cuss the concept of separation of pow-  5.  Is it against the national security law  to interview fu- shall be protected in accordance with the law. Any measures
 curriculum”, according to a press re-  national security,” the spokesperson  ers, which is a long-standing model of   gitives such as Nathan Law?   or enforcement actions taken under the national security law
 lease issued by the bureau on August  adds.  Hong  Kong legal  and  administrative   must observe the above principle. There is no question that
         6. The missing bookseller’s case has caused great con- people will unwittingly violate the national security law when
 19, 2020.   On August 19, the Hong Kong  system,” Ip adds.   cern. Will the execution of the national security law affect  exercising these rights and freedoms, so long as such activi-
  The term “separation of powers”  Professional Teachers’ Union issued a   He urges educators not to practice   publishers and booksellers in Hong Kong?  ties do not involve the four categories of offences under the
 was removed and legal consequences  statement condemning   self censorship and teach students in-  national security law.
 of civil disobedience were highlighted  the government of   dependent thinking regardless of the   7. What may be the consequences or penalties if academ-
                                                            However, the above rights and freedoms are not absolute,
 in examined textbooks published in  censoring Liberal   current political climate.   ics or booksellers violate the law?   and may be restricted by law for respect of the rights or repu-
 August 2020, months after the na-  Studies textbooks,   Liberal Studies teacher Lo Kit-ling,   8. Will writing/ teaching/ singing songs about social is- tations of others, and for the protection of national security,
 tional security law was imposed. The  describing it as an   who is also a committee member of   sues / social movements in Hong Kong be considered as  public order (ordre public) and public health or morals. If il-
 bureau dismissed allegations about  act  undermining   the Hong Kong Liberal Studies Teach-  breaking the national security law?  licit activities are involved, they will have gone beyond the
 censoring textbooks under the  law,  the learning objec-  ers’ Association, thinks that schools   constitutionally guaranteed bounds and may be sanctioned
         9. Many musicians/ lyricists are feeling very worried as  and restricted by law. The national security law has clearly set
 saying  that the pusblishers “volun-  tives  of  the  core   Lo Kit-ling  should be given clearer instructions.  they are not sure what words/ music video scenes will be  out all elements of the four categories of offences endanger-
 tarily participated in the professional  subject.  “Without an ‘official’ red line,   considered as illegal. Will there be a list of words that are  ing national security. The prosecution would need to establish
 consultancy service and refined the   Education lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen,  teachers have no choice but to practise   banned from using as lyrics?   and particularise the acts and state of mind of the defendant
 textbooks” in the same press release.   who is also the vice president of the  self censorship,” Lo says. “Our imme-  which constitute a particular offence. Whether the defendant
         10. Will music video scenes showing public demonstra- is guilty would depend on relevant evidence, and ultimately
 A spokesperson of the Education  Union, raises his concerns over po-  diate action is to review teaching ma-  tions and banners of “Five demands” or “HK independence”  be determined by the court having regard to the facts and cir-
 Bureau tells Varsity that the bureau  tentiathreats to academic freedom  terials thoroughly and filter content   be considered as illegal?   cumstances of the case.
 is seeking advice from relevant pol-  under the national security law.   that might be seen as possible threat
 to national security,” Lo adds.  11. Can music teachers teach songs with lyrics such as   The HKSAR Government will not comment on individual
 Lo is most worried about facts be-  “Five demands”, “protesters or “Hong Kong Independence”?  cases. In general, unless a person has the right of abode or
 ing removed from textbooks after as-                     right to land in Hong Kong, the person requires a visa or entry
                                                          permit to come to work in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has always
 sessment. “We are afraid facts will be                   adopted a pragmatic and open policy on the employment of
 altered one day. Historical events like                  professionals in Hong Kong, allowing those possessing spe-
 the Cultural Revolution are worth                        cial skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not read-
 mentioning and discussing,” Lo says.                     ily available in Hong Kong to apply to come to work, includ-
                                                          ing journalistic work. In handling each immigration case, the
 She believes that Liberal Studies                        Immigration Department will consider the circumstances of
 has an important role in cultivating                     the case and act in accordance with the laws and immigration
 students’ critical thinking and ability                  policies.
 to analyze current affairs.
 “I hope students can learn in and
 out classroom with the help of both
 unbiased textbooks and real life expe-
 riential learning,” she adds.
                                  Table 1: A set of questions Varsity sent to Security Bureau on
                                         national security law and their written reply
                                                                                         Edited by Emilie Lui
                                                                                         Edited by Emilie Lui
 Liberal Studies Teaching Materials
                                                                                   Sub-edited by Howar    d Li
                                                                                   Sub-edited by Howard Li
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