A Hong Kong teacher has been disqualified for allegedly promoting the city's independence from China in class and discussing freedom of speech with their pupils.
The Education Bureau said the unnamed teacher had been struck off for 'deliberately disseminating pro-independence messages', a move hailed by the authorities as a blow against 'black sheep' working in the education system.
The decision is the first time Hong Kong's Education Bureau has removed a teaching licence because of the content of lessons, and comes as a crackdown on democracy supporters in the city gathers pace.
The teacher had reportedly shown the class a video featuring a pro-independence activist and asked the students questions such as 'what is freedom of speech?' and 'What would Hong Kong turn into without freedom of speech?', according to reports.
The Education Bureau accused the teacher of violating Hong Kong's Basic Law, its de facto constitution, by having 'spread a message about Hong Kong independence'.
'To protect students' interest and safeguard teachers' professionalism and general public's trust in the teaching profession, the education bureau decided to cancel the teacher's registration,' it said in a statement.
Their disqualification was hailed by the city's pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam as a blow against 'black sheep' working in the education system.
'Our work has to continue to remove the black sheep from the field of education,' she told reporters.
'If there are a very tiny fraction of teachers who are using their teaching responsibilities to convey wrong messages to promote misunderstanding about the nation, to smear the country, and the Hong Kong government, without basis, then that becomes a very serious matter.'
'It can clearly be seen that Hong Kong independence is the theme of the lesson,' deputy secretary Chan Siu Suk-fan told a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Chan said the teacher's lesson plan and materials for Primary Five students — who are about 10 years old — involved discussion of a banned political party that advocated Hong Kong independence, and also touched upon topics related to Tibet, Xinjiang and Taiwan independence.
The Education Bureau's decision was also slammed by human rights organisations as another illustration of freedom of expression being 'increasingly eroded' in Hong Kong since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law.
Many young people took part in the protests, which called for police accountability and greater autonomy for the city.
The news comes after Hong Kong police have arrested at least 60 people on suspicion of unauthorised assembly on China’s National Day holiday after crowds gathered on the streets of a popular shopping district chanting pro-democracy slogans.
Source: Daily Mail