TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Hong Kong government is reportedly considering ending exchange programs between its local universities and those in Taiwan to prevent Hong Kong students from becoming "politically brainwashed" by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
According to Article 9 of the Hong Kong national security law, authorities of the special administrative region can impose "necessary measures" to enhance supervision and regulation over matters concerning national security, "including those relating to schools, universities, social organizations, the media, and the internet."
Liberty Times reported Monday (Dec. 21) that Hong Kong officials are considering cutting off student exchanges with Taiwan, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter. If imposed, the plan may affect thousands of Hong Kong students who want to pursue an education in Taiwan.
The source said that the termination of university exchange programs is aimed at taming Hong Kong's rebellious youth and instilling patriotism. The individual added that the authorities believe Hong Kong students in Taiwan are being influenced by the DPP, with many of them taking part in "subversive actions" when they return home.
Following the anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong last year, Beijing has ordered the region's government to revise university curriculums and require students to attend some lectures in China during their studies. It has also stepped up its crackdown on teachers who encourage students to question government authorities, according to Reuters.
During a press interview, Hong Kong bookseller and democracy activist Lam Wing-kee (林榮基) said the cancellation of student exchange programs between Taiwan and Hong Kong is very likely. He described the measure as Beijing's way of cutting Hong Kong off from the outside world, and he urged Hongkongers to emigrate as soon as possible.
Lam pointed out that the situation in Hong Kong could only worsen. He said the Chinese Communist Party will begin monitoring the speech and behavior of the region's residents and seek to wipe out all opposition.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for activist group Hong Kong Outlanders who goes by the name "Justine" said that academic freedom is being suppressed in the former British colony. She emphasized that for fear of persecution, Hong Kong students are now hesitant to offer their opinions.