Hong Kong’s education department has banned students from engaging in certain forms of protest against a new national-security law that cements Chinese control over the territory.
Students will be forbidden from singing the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong,” posting political slogans online, or forming human chains, which have been seen at various pro-democracy protests in the territory.
Glory to Hong Kong “contains strong political messages and is closely related to the social and political incidents, violence and illegal incidents that have lasted for months,” Hong Kong education secretary Kevin Yeung said in a statement on Wednesday. “Therefore, schools must not allow students to play, sing or broadcast it in schools.”
Hong Kong students, including even middle-schoolers, have been a driving force behind the pro-democracy protests against Chinese encroachment. The phenomenon is of particular concern to Chinese authorities and pro-China officials in the territory, who are pushing for a more patriotic curriculum.
According to Yeung, over 1,600 students have been arrested at protests since the implementation of the national-security law. In broad and vague language, that law criminalizes behavior deemed damaging to the Chinese state. The law also technically applies to every person in the world, meaning that if a U.S. citizen is deemed to have broken the national-security law while in the U.S., that person can be charged if they enter Hong Kong.
In late May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed Congress that the State Department no longer considered Hong Kong an autonomous territory because of Chinese encroachment.