TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The license of a Hong Kong primary school teacher has been revoked for allegedly teaching politically incorrect material in the first incident of its kind since Beijing enacted a sweeping national security law for the territory in June of this year.
Describing such teachers as “bad apples” who need to be “weeded out,” Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) said the matter had been “thoroughly probed,” adding, “We do not allow independence and other unlawful ideas to creep onto campuses,” reported the BBC.
The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, the main organization representing the profession in the territory, disputed the investigation into the pedagogue, criticizing the ruling by the Education Bureau as having been made without giving the accused the opportunity to mount a serious defense. The union went on to describe the bureau’s ruling as a “despicable act of intimidation,” per Al Jazeera.
According to reports, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan were among the topics the teacher touched on in a lesson plan. A video related to Hong Kong independence as well as a related worksheet were also presented to the students.
Questions on the worksheet were reportedly of a political nature, such as, “What is freedom of speech?” and, “What is the reason for advocating Hong Kong independence?” according to The Guardian.
Despite the alleged infractions occurring before the national security law came into effect, the teacher is still being punished — but under the rubric of the Basic Law, the constitutional document that has governed Hong Kong since the handover from Britain to China in 1997.
Complete control over the educational system in Hong Kong has long been a goal of Beijing’s, though in past years entrenched opposition has proved difficult to overcome. In the wake of the new national security law, that may be about to change.