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2019.05.28

 

Safeguarding our cherished rule of law system

and rallying public opinions to resist amendments

to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance

Dear Members,

Never have I felt so weighed down ever since I became a Legislative Councillor more than 6 years ago. Those of us who grow up in Hong Kong all cherish our system and core values and take pride in having a fair, open and equitable rule of law system and various freedoms.

However, the Government has, for the ostensible reason of enabling Hong Kong to extradite to Taiwan a Hong Kong person alleged to have committed murder in Taiwan, recently been forcing the Legislative Council to pass highly controversial amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance despite the lack of consultation and the flimsiness of argumentation in support of the proposed amendments. Once the amendments are passed, Hong Kong citizens and foreigners touring Hong Kong or doing business in Hong Kong are vulnerable to extradition to the mainland to stand trial. While the Government has repeatedly stressed ‘safeguard by the court’, the power of the court is actually confined to checking the completeness (or otherwise) of documents provided by the jurisdiction requesting extradition but not the veracity of evidence(s) against the person requested to be extradited.

From time to time, we have heard of trials conducted on the mainland being unfair. Things could be even worse. For example, the accused may not be able to freely engage a lawyer for self-defence and the trials may not be open to the public. There have also been court hearings of which family members of the accused are not notified or to which they are refused access. We have also heard of Hong Kong residents while running business, doing news reporting, or even simply selling books in Hong Kong being suddenly charged by the mainland authorities with crimes of a non-political nature.

Some may think that the legal system of the mainland has improved over the past 40 years. It is, however, still far below the level acceptable to Hong Kong citizens. Since the start of the controversy, the number of Hong Kong people opposed to the proposed amendments has been increasing, businessmen and news reporters included. Despite this, the HKSAR Government, with the support of The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government, has been obstinately pressing ahead with the proposed amendments, which is most disappointing and which constitutes a substantial threat to ‘One Country, Two Systems’.

Notwithstanding this, we will continue to do our utmost to fight for what is right. We also hope that all Hong Kong citizens will treasure the freedoms we have, come out courageously and convey our views to the entire world loud and clear.

For the sake of safeguarding ‘One Country, Two Systems’, safeguarding the personal safety of Hong Kong people, and safeguarding our rule of law and freedoms, I sincerely invite you to take part in the ‘Solidarity against the Evil Law’ protest march initiated by PTU and others and scheduled to start at 2:30 pm on Sunday 9 June. The assembly venue is East Point Road, Causeway Bay. I hope that all of us will enthusiastically participate in the protest march. Meanwhile, you are most welcome to let me have your views on the proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance. They can be emailed to [email protected] .

Safeguarding our cherished rule of law system and rallying public opinions to resist amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance
Learning Support Grant: press conference on findings of questionnaire survey Primary schools’ views on ETV: PTU announcing findings of questionnaire survey
Petition by more than 1,000 HKU alumni asking the University to handle with fairness the teaching post of Professor TAI Yiu-ting Snapshots Speeches

Learning Support Grant: press conference on findings of questionnaire survey


Changing the mode of financial support for integrated education, the Government is forcing the introduction of a new Learning Support Grant (LSG) to replace the Intensive Remedial Teaching Programme (IRTP) in primary schools. In the past few months, complaints about the change kept coming in and hence I conducted a questionnaire survey with primary schools for a better understanding of LSG’s impacts on schools.

The findings of the survey, which I announced at a press conference held on 23 May, revealed ‘man-made turmoil’. Two headmasters invited to the press conference pointed out that while the new system increased the amount of grant, it curtailed staff establishment and put a cap on the amount of grant, resulting in a reduction of staff resources and threatening the stability of the teaching team and the development of integrated education. I would urge the Government to carefully listen to the voice of front-line educators, and review and rationally adjust the new system.

Primary schools’ views on ETV: PTU announcing findings of questionnaire survey

Last year's Audit Report mentioned that the number of educational television (ETV) programmes actually watched by schools as a whole was rather small. The Report also carried negative comments like programme contents being outdated and valueless.

PTU’s understanding all along is, however, that primary school teachers have continuously been using ETV as a teaching resource, and their evaluation of ETV has been very high. Hence, PTU conducted a questionnaire survey in January and February this year to collect primary school teachers’ opinion on ETV teaching.

According to the survey, more than 90% of primary school teachers use ETV to assist in formal classroom teaching and ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ to the retention of ETV. In addition, more than 90% of the teachers agree that ETV has a positive impact on students and that ETV provides useful information for teaching and learning. As regards those teachers who ‘seldom use’ or ‘do not use’ ETV, most of the respondents (83.3%) attributed this phenomenon to ‘inadequacy of class hours’, a factor overwhelmingly more important than those related to the quality of the programme or teaching.

The results of the survey clearly show that ETV does have its value and play a useful role in primary education. However, the authorities must review the depth and breadth of the primary school curriculum. Otherwise, it would be difficult for teachers to have the space to bring quality and diverse teaching activities into their daily teaching. This survey also reveals deficiencies in the Audit Report. When evaluating ETV, Audit Department applied only one single benchmark: the amount of classroom viewing. When writing the report, it ignored the huge differences between different segments of learning. Hence, the report fails to give a comprehensive assessment. I would urge Audit Department to review its investigation methodology and its way of reporting so as to avoid misleading the making of decisions.

Petition by more than 1,000 HKU alumni asking the University to handle with fairness the teaching post of Professor TAI Yiu-ting

On 30 April, a group of Hong Kong university alumni, including me, issued a joint statement on the matter arising from the sentence passed on TAI Yiu-ting, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, HKU. We simultaneously invited HKU alumni and the general public to take part in a joint petition, hoping that the University will safeguard institutional autonomy and handle Professor TAI’s teaching post in accordance with the principle of fairness and justice.

During the short space of 9 days (from 30 April 30 to 10 am on 8 May), as many as 1,586 people signed the petition, comprising 1,017 HKU alumni (64.1%), 548 members of the public (34.6%) and 21 current teaching staff members of HKU (1.3%).

We emphasize the importance of respect for institutional autonomy for universities. We note that there are voices outside the University for Professor TAI to be dismissed from his teaching post. Such remarks are not fair to him. All of us who signed the joint petition hope that HKU can resist pressure from outside and make a decision which is just and fair. As Professor TAI has appealed against his conviction and sentence, we believe that HKU should act prudently and refrain from initiating any procedure to terminate Professor TAI’s teaching position until all legal proceedings have come to a close.

Meeting with delegation from US-China Economic and Security Review Commission

Together with 15 Legislative Council Members, I had a meeting with a delegation from the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, an organisation comprising Congress members and serving to provide views and suggestions to the Congress. At the meeting, I made my position crystal clear: the extradition Bill will, in respect of both legislation procedures (consultation seriously insufficient) and results of deliberation, bring unprecedented impacts on ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and significantly threaten the rule of law in Hong Kong. This is a highly frustrating development. Many Legislative Councillors also made this point clear at the meeting.

However, I believe that we still have the freedom of expression. Large-scale protests, if they take place, is a manifestation of Hong Kong’s freedom and vitality. Whatever will happen, I hope that Hong Kong will continue to embrace the spirit of freedom.

Finland Early Childhood Education Day

I had my first encounter with the kantele when I was having a meeting in Finland in March this year. A large kantele was played while famous singers were singing. The playing of the kantele was like that of the Chinese guzheng. While it looked simple, the kantele produced a great variety of good performances!

Unexpectedly, the kantele has already been introduced into Hong Kong for some time. Earlier on, I listened to a group of children playing the smallest type of wuxianqin (5-stringed banjo) at the Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK). To share the fun, both Johanna, Consul-General of Finland in Hong Kong and I attempted to learn how to play the instrument. To my pleasant surprise, the young lady teaching us was Carol, a student of mine when I was teaching at the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd). The children giving the performance in the morning were her students.

On the ‘Finland Early Childhood Education Day’, I saw the performance of the kantele, an instrument with which I had my first encounter in Finland two months ago and I met at EdUHK a student whom I taught at HKIEd more than 10 years ago. What a wonderful day!

An unusual guided tour of the Legislative Council

11 May was a special day. It was a day scheduled for me to conduct a guided tour of the Legislative Council for PTU members. It happened that the Hon. TO Kun-sun, Chairman of the Bills Committee on Amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, was calling a meeting on the same day.

Fortunately, thanks to the arrangement made by colleagues of the Council Secretariat, we were able to visit the Chamber, where we bumped into the Hon. KWONG Chun-yu and the Hon. LEUNG Kai-cheong. We took photos with them.

We then went to the History Corridor on the 3/F. When we went past Conference Room 2, we could not help halting our steps and watching the meeting in progress. To the teachers touring the Legislative Council, that day was a memorable encounter and experience.

STEM teaching: Visiting Lok Sin Tong Yu Kan Hing Secondary School

On 2 May, together with a group of Legislative Councillors, I visited Lok Sin Tong Yu Kan Hing Secondary School, a school that promotes STEM teaching. In addition to encouraging students to access scientific knowledge, the school also helps them to apply what they have learned in their daily lives.

We looked at items designed by students such as voice-activated water machines and smart homes, as well as face recognition technologies. In addition, the school had a coffee machine that could ‘print’ different patterns or words. Apart from learning how to operate the machine, students could at the same time learn how to make foam and design patterns, a good example of interdisciplinary learning.

From the visit, we feel that the school has been doing its best and that its teaching has moved with the times. I would like to wish its principal and teachers a good balance between teaching and their daily lives so that they can continue to develop and improve education.

17 May 2019: meeting of the Finance Committee
TWGHs Shui Chuen O Primary School: a construction planning blunder unfairly causing much inconvenience to the school and its students

15 May 2019: Meeting of the Legislative Council
Curtailing budget for commissioning HKEAA to conduct TSA

3 May 2019: Meeting of Panel on Education
Hong Kong Polytechnic University: following up on extension and renovation works on its library

Representative of Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union
in Legislative Council,
Hon IP Kin-yuen
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‧For enquiry and feedback, please email to Office of Legislative Councillor IP Kin-yuen: [email protected]
葉建源議員辦事處 Office of Legislative Councillor Ip Kin Yuen (Education Constituency)
通訊處:香港中區立法會道1號立法會綜合大樓919室
Corresponding Address: Room 919, Legislative Council Complex, 1 Legislative Council Road, Central, Hong Kong
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