Last Saturday evening, after facilitating Day 2 of a DP-CAS workshop in Victoria Shanghai Academy, I was in a hotel courtesy bus on the way to dine with an ex-student who now resides in Hong Kong. He’s a pilot for Cathay Pacific and we had arranged to meet at Hong Kong Station.
As the bus neared my destination I looked out the window and I could see large numbers of young people gathering around Central – Hong Kong’s CBD. Those numbers swelled dramatically overnight.
In the early hours of Sunday morning on a small stage and in a speech punctuated by roaring cheers and shouted slogans, the University of Hong Kong’s Associate Professor of Law, Benny Tai declared, “students have activated Hong Kong’s largest-scale civil disobedience campaign ever.”
Two years ago protests that involved students, including secondary school students, led to the formation of Scholarism. And one of the leaders of student activism then at the age of 15 , continues to inspire and lead at the mature age of 17 now.
According to Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Chancellor’s Professor of History at UC Irvine and author of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, the Chinese government is indeed quite concerned about the current demonstrations, and especially the unique role students do play in Hong Kong and Chinese protest more broadly.
Remember Tianmen Square?
*Should CAS students join in this protest? Why or why not?
If you believe so, what role do you think students should play?
*The “CAS Guide” (2008) has a section on Political Activity inside the Range and diversity of activities with the following caveat : “the IB has no view on whether or not it is appropriate for students to be involved in political activities as part of the educational experience. Views on this vary considerably in different cultural contexts, so it is a matter for decision at local or school level.”
NB. At the time of writing this blog most schools have closed until further notice – does this decision liberate more students to join in?