hong kong boycott
Image: Studio Incendo / Wikimedia Commons

Hong Kong university students boycott classes amid 14th week of unrest

Students at 10 Hong Kong universities and over 100 secondary schools have began to boycott classes, amid large scale protests across the city entering its 14th week.

The boycott began today as early as 7:00am and is scheduled to continue for two weeks. Students donned helmets, goggles and masks, forming human chains in front of their institutions and chanting “reclaim Hong Kong” while holding black banners which said “boycott for freedom”.

Alumni speakers were also present. While stressing that they are “boycotting lessons but not their education”, student protestors have warned that they will escalate their actions if their demands are not met by Chief Executive Carrie Lam after the fortnight.

Kenneth Wong, president of the University of Hong Kong (HKU)’s student union (SU), said that they are “considering calls for an indefinite boycott of classes and general strikes. If Lam is sincere in building a dialogue, responding to the five demands is the best way to start.”

The protestors’ demands are for the Extradition Bill to be withdrawn, Carrie Lam to resign, an inquiry into police brutality to be held, those arrested during the protests to be released, and greater democratic freedoms to be granted to Hong Kong residents.

The boycott and wider protests, which have seen more than two million people in attendance, were initially triggered by the controversial bill proposed by the Hong Kong government.

Students donned helmets, goggles and masks, forming human chains in front of their institutions and chanting “reclaim Hong Kong” while holding black banners which said “boycott for freedom”

The bill, which would have allowed local authorities in the city to extradite citizens to countries such as mainland China, caused deep concern due to fears that it would erode the “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong.

Since the protests began in June, the bill has been suspended but not withdrawn.

The SU president at HKU believes that “as the situation has gotten more intense…the social situation will bring more students into the boycott.”

Other local universities have also taken action, such as Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), who pledged to maintain a public archive of the protests which will include posts, photos, footage and other documents.

“When it’s all done, this will be a public archive to contribute to the history of Hong Kong,” said Anthony Neoh, who heads the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) and serves as the university’s treasurer.

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