HK students form human chain outside swimming competition to protest against cut in number of spectators and alleged ban on chanting slogans

28-Oct-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

About 100 students from 20 elite schools in Hong Kong formed a human chain outside an interschool swimming gala on Friday to protest against restrictions imposed on the competition, including a cut in the number of spectators and an alleged ban on chanting political slogans.

While the students did not shout any protest slogans at the venue during the contest, they shouted “Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times” during the prize distribution ceremony at around 5.30pm.

At lunchtime, about 100 students who represented their school’s cheering squad formed a 200-metre-long human chain outside Kowloon Park swimming pool, wrapping around the corner of Nathan Road and Austin Road.

The students chose to mask their faces, but donned their school uniforms. They also sang Glory to Hong Kong, theme song of anti-government protesters.

The students said they were warned not to chant political slogans during the swimming competition. (South China Morning Post)

The students said they were warned not to chant political slogans during the swimming competition. (South China Morning Post)

Some finalist swimmers also sported water-resistant stickers with anti-government slogans which read “Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times”.

The Hong Kong Schools Sports Federation (HKSSF), which organises the annual Division-1 interschool swimming competition among elite schools across Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, confirmed it had cut the number of spectators this year and restricted live broadcast and interviews considering safety reasons.

The federation did not elaborate on how many people it allowed at the 1,689-seat venue, but a student cheerleader surnamed Wong said his school had been given only 18 spectator tickets this year, as opposed to 60 tickets last year.

However, the federation denied they had asked students not to chant political slogans during the competition.

“It could be hearsay or the result of some misunderstanding,” a spokeswoman of the federation said.

But various student concern groups wrote on social media on Thursday that the federation warned pupils last week the contest would be called off if they dared to chant political slogans at the venue.

One student also said a teacher confirmed to him that the warning had been issued in a preparatory meeting for the event held by the federation.

A 15-year-old girl who took part in the human chain protest and gave only her surname as Au, said: “The HKSSF warned coaches and teachers in a meeting last Friday to tell students not to chant political slogans inside the arena during the swimming finals.”

The student from Heep Yunn School in Kowloon City said the cheering teams complied for fear of being disqualified.

Another contestant, a Form 4 pupil surnamed Lo from Cheung Sha Wan Catholic Secondary School, said the cut in the number of participants made him unhappy. He confirmed that he had also been told about the ban on political slogans.

Kan, a student from Ying Wa College in Sham Shui Po, who came to the venue to cheer for his school team, said his teachers advised them to only “focus on supporting the swimmers”, but did not explicitly forbid them from chanting slogans or expressing their political stances.



Category: Hong Kong

Print This Post

Comments are closed.